Title: A comparison of engagement and interaction among university distance learning students

Authors: Samantha Tackett; Kelly Moore Torres

Addresses: College of Education (3210 STB), Florida State University, 1114 West Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4459, USA ' College of Education (3210 STB), Florida State University, 1114 West Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4459, USA

Abstract: When facilitating instruction in distance learning environments, educators are presented with challenges in student motivation and development of community. We used a mixed-method approach to analyse the interaction patterns and quality of discussion among distance learning college students who used two different course tools to complete assignments. Six patterns of discussion emerged from the posts: agreement, disagreement, countering, belief, statement, and re-state. We used a five-point scale to assess the quality of students' posts. The student posts from VoiceThread™ (VT) assignments had higher quality scores and higher frequency of countering and belief statements. Whereas, the student posts from discussion board (DB) assignments had lower quality scores and a higher frequency of re-statement and agree statements. Student feedback regarding the use of the VT tool was positive. Additional analysis of using the VT tool with different types of assignments and in other online courses is necessary.

Keywords: asynchronous; distance learning; interaction patterns; online discussion; peer interaction; student engagement; text-based interaction; VoiceThread™; Web 2.0 tools; universities; higher education; e-education; electronic education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2014.063387

International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 2014 Vol.2 No.2, pp.153 - 169

Received: 11 Jul 2013
Accepted: 09 Oct 2013

Published online: 14 Jul 2014 *

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