A Review of Literature and a Model for Scaffolding Asynchronous Student-Student Interaction in Online Discussion Forums

A Review of Literature and a Model for Scaffolding Asynchronous Student-Student Interaction in Online Discussion Forums

Kristin L. K. Koskey (The University of Akron, USA) and Susan N. Kushner Benson (The University of Akron, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1851-8.ch012
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to overview types of asynchronous student-student interactions with a focus on designed interaction in an online discussion forum context, as well as to illustrate pedagogical approaches to scaffolding interactions. Student-student interaction in asynchronous online discussion is the emphasis of this chapter. The chapter focuses on a review of the literature on the roles of the instructor, student, and learning task in the online teaching and learning process. Ways in which these roles interact is then discussed including an overview of types of interactions. The chapter then focuses on contextual and designed interactions including conditions documented in research as to how to effectively use designed interaction to scaffold student-student interaction. Next, a guiding model is presented for how to plan for asynchronous interaction. Finally, challenges faced when designing or implementing synchronous discussions are discussed, as well as potential recommendations for overcoming these challenges.
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The Roles Of The Instructor, Student And Learning Task

Nearly 25 years ago, Alison King (1993) published an article titled From Sage on the Stage to Guide at the Side. In this article King described outdated classrooms where professors were the central figure – transmitting knowledge to students who in turn memorized and then reproduced the knowledge on an exam. In her work, King suggested a new metaphor of professors as guides on the side. King suggested that professors are still responsible for presenting course content but that learning is fostered through less directive approaches. King described that the professor’s role “is to facilitate students' interaction with the material and with each other in their knowledge-producing endeavor” (p. 30). Since its publication, King’s work has been cited nearly 800 times as scholars in the field of teaching and learning consider how the roles of instructors and students best maximize the process. In no other context is this discussion livelier than within the arena of the online classroom.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student-Student Interaction: Students dialogue with other students.

Designed Interaction: A form of student-student interaction where the instructor provides students opportunities to actively interact through collaborating typically in small groups on a problem-based authentic learning task.

Asynchronous Discussion: Students and/or instructor are not necessarily engaging in a discussion in real time.

Contextual Interaction: A form of student-student interaction where the instructor provides students opportunities to interact but not necessarily collaborate.

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy: A hierarchical model of learning moving from lower levels of learning to higher levels of learning. The levels of learning are remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. This model is often used to classify and evaluate levels of learning outcomes.

Student-Content Interaction: Students interact with the course content through engaging in such learning activities as reading, watching videos, using software programs, participating in simulations, exploring resources, and working on course assignments.

Instructor-Student Interaction: Instructor and student dialogue with the student initiating the dialogue.

Student-Instructor Interaction: Student and instructor dialogue with the student initiating the dialogue.

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