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Thematic Analysis of the "Games" Students Play in Asynchronous Learning Environments

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Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks Volume 18, Number 1, ISSN 1939-5256


The dynamics of the student-student relationship within the asynchronous online classroom, as evidenced by conversations in an online discussion board, is a balancing act potentially more complex than those occurring in real-time. In order for learning to truly be considered effective, a collaborative, safe environment needs to exist among students within the online conversation [1]. In the present study, student conversations and postings were examined by two raters using qualitative analysis. Thematic coding and member checking was conducted. Several prevalent themes emerged around the metaphor of "playing a game." Students established rules, they followed suit of the lead of player, formed team alliances, and established who was "in" and who was "out" of the game. Based on these results, strategies have been identified to demonstrate techniques on how instructors can create a more effective learning environment for students, and what strategies can be used to examine and advance conversations, regardless of discipline. These techniques focus on creating awareness among students of potential issues in asynchronous student to student interactions, how to examine and engage in a diversity of student perspectives, and ways to facilitate intellectual growth and advancement in the asynchronous online classroom.


MacMillan, T., Forte, M. & Grant, C. (2014). Thematic Analysis of the "Games" Students Play in Asynchronous Learning Environments. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 18(1),. Retrieved October 15, 2019 from .

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