Enhancing student engagement using online, asynchronous, reflective discussions
Dallas M. Dolan, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
Student engagement in college classes, which is critical for student success, has been positively correlated with overall student success, including persistence and retention rates (Ouimet, 2001, Assessment Measures: The Community College Survey of Student Engagement); critical thinking; and grade point average (Carini, Kuh, & Klein, 2006, Student Engagement and Student Learning: Testing the Linkages). Based upon social constructivist theory and informed by the literature on communities of practice, reflective learning, and online learning, this quasi-experimental study was designed to examine the impact of the use of online, asynchronous, reflective discussions (OARDs) on student engagement in traditional, face-to-face college classes, as well as the influence of student age on engagement. Two hundred and eighteen students enrolled in first-year, face-to-face psychology classes at a large community college in the northeastern part of the United States participated in the study. Half of the students were enrolled in first-year psychology classes in which OARDs were used, and the other half were enrolled in similar psychology classes in which OARDs were not used. No statistically significant differences were found in student engagement when comparing the students participating in OARDs and those not participating in OARDs. However, a statistically significant difference was found in engagement scores of students in the 26- to 34-year-old group when compared to their younger counterparts in the 18- to 25-year-old group, regardless of their participation in the traditional or the OARD-enhanced classes. Several possibilities for these findings were explored, and recommendations for future research were made.
Dolan, D.M. Enhancing student engagement using online, asynchronous, reflective discussions. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
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