IJMB Journal – Abstracts
International Journal of Management and Business
IJMB Volume VIII, Issue 2
Testing the Value of Threaded Discussions in Online Learning
Michele T. Cole, J.D., Ph.D.*, Daniel J. Shelley, Ph.D., Louis B. Swartz, J.D.
This article presents the results of a two-year study of the perceived value of threaded discussions to students enrolled in online and partially online business and education courses. Both graduate and undergraduate students were surveyed. Students were asked to evaluate the degree to which they felt that threaded discussions enhanced their ability to learn subject material. They were also asked to select the type of threaded discussion that best achieved their learning goals and to rate the usefulness of threaded discussions to learning compared with written assignments. There were statistically significant differences on the value of threaded discussions to learning based on gender and on academic level. There were statistically significant differences between full-time and part-time students with regard to the questions of enjoyment of threaded discussions and on the broader question of whether online instruction was preferable to face-to-face instruction. Results were consistent with earlier studies that found students’ evaluation of threaded discussions as valuable to their learning course material to be tepid. Approximately two-thirds of the respondents felt that threaded discussions enhanced learning to “some degree” or “somewhat.” Fifty percent of respondents characterized threaded discussions as “useful.”
Keywords: E-learning, threaded discussions, online instruction