Personality Interactions and Scaffolding in On-Line Discussions
Journal of Educational Computing Research Volume 30, Number 1, ISSN 0735-6331
The potential of on-line discussions to prompt greater reflection of course material is often stymied by a tendency of students to agree with one another rather than to formulate counter-arguments. This article describes an experiment using note starters and elaborated cases to encourage counter-argumentation and examines interactions with personality characteristics. Participants were 48 undergraduates who wrote on-line discussion notes in response to two issues in educational psychology. Participants also completed a personality survey, based on McCrae and Costa's (1997) five-factor personality model. There was a significant positive main effect of note starters on the frequency of disagreement, as well as personality-treatment interactions between note starters and several personality characteristics, The results suggest that note starters are most useful for students with low degrees of curiosity ("openness to ideas") or assertiveness, and who are not overly anxious. Note starters appear to encourage students to consider other points of view during on-line discussions.
Nussbaum, E.M., Hartley, K., Sinatra, G.M., Reynolds, R.E. & Bendixen, L.D. (2004). Personality Interactions and Scaffolding in On-Line Discussions. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 30(1), 113-136.
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