Content Analysis of Wiki Discussions for Knowledge Construction: Opportunities and Challenges

Content Analysis of Wiki Discussions for Knowledge Construction: Opportunities and Challenges

Vasa Buraphadeja, Swapna Kumar
DOI: 10.4018/jwltt.2012040103
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Research on several aspects of asynchronous online discussions in online and hybrid courses has been successfully conducted using content analysis in the past. With the increase in Web 2.0 and social media use in education, research on knowledge construction within newer virtual environments like blogs or wikis is just emerging. This study applies a well-known model of content analysis for knowledge construction to an educational wiki environment. Twelve graduate students’ contributions to a wiki in a 14-week on-campus course on Web 2.0 technologies in education are analyzed. Results indicate that the wiki platform fosters collaborative knowledge construction and that is necessary to develop new frameworks to analyze content in new learning environments. Wiki environments provide opportunities for researchers to capture the process of collaboration, knowledge construction, and meta-cognition.
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Content Analysis And Asynchronous Communication

The text-based, non-verbal medium in asynchronous learning environments as opposed to oral communication in face-to-face classrooms has been termed lean medium by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) who asserted that this medium provides time for reflection and facilitates deep and meaningful learning. The asynchronous nature of the medium extends wait times for learners to process information and reflect on learning materials, promoting deep learning and providing learner-centered instruction (Hara, Bonk, & Angeli, 2000; Havard, Du, & Olinzock, 2005). A successful method that has been used to analyze online discussion transcripts for deep learning, high-level thinking, critical thinking, and cognitive skills is content analysis. Content analysis is a “technique used to extract desired information from a body of material (usually verbal) by systematically and objectively identifying specified characteristics of the material” (Smith, 2000, p. 314). In computer-mediated communication (CMC), researchers infer meaning from text using a set of procedures to discern and define a target variable, to collect samples of representative text, and to devise reliable and valid rules to categorize segments of the text (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001).

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