Peer Interactions: Extending Pedagogical Deliberations into the Virtual Hallway

Peer Interactions: Extending Pedagogical Deliberations into the Virtual Hallway

Anita Chadha (University of Houston, Downtown, Houston, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2018070101

Abstract

The focus of this article was to evaluate a specifically designed digital learning peer-interactive strategy through an e-collaborative web project for reflective engagement with each other and associated academic materials. Data was taken from one semester of participation in an e-collaboration assessing student peer discussions in politics from two introductory American politics classes across two geographic regions of the country. Significant findings reveal that the interactive discussion forums in this e-collaboration engaged students in an academically reflective peer-student and peer-content interactions over the entire semester. The implications of this study are immense, in that a carefully designed digital learning strategy, an e-collaboration, does extend peer deliberative discussions into the virtual hallway, enhancing student deliberative performance. This is one that can be used to complement a variety of disciplines and is a concern to researchers, educators, and universities.
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Introduction

With the popularity and advancement in this virtual age, educators seek course creations that extend student pedagogical leaning into the digital hallway. One such means is with the use of a carefully designed web project, an e-collaboration, offered through a thoughtfully constructed asynchronous online platform, where student interact and learn together through peer student and student content interactions online. An e-collaboration using interactive forums where peers deliberate with each other allowing them the time to read, reflect and post in a time and space of their choosing, have the potential to transform the landscape of higher education by expanding thoughtfully constructed student discussions across the globe. Peer student instruction as an instructional method has been recognized as having a positive impact on learning as early as 1916 when John Dewey referred to interaction as the defining component of the educational process occurring when the student transforms the information passed to them from another, and constructs it into knowledge with personal application and belief (Dewey, 1916).

Peer interaction as a pedagogical ideal is pivotal in online settings as the back-and-forth dialogue among peers facilitate learning through interaction. Researchers have observed that in online environments much like face-to-face classes, learning occurs through an egalitarian process in which participants generate, challenge, reflect upon, and defend ideas, thereby constructing meaning through these exchanges (Rountree, 1995). In other words, web-based technologies facilitate creative collaboration among active participants who co-produce content (Lee & McLoughlin, 2007), with learning derived as a product of students’ interaction (Dehler & Parras-Hernandez, 1998).

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