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Evaluating the Quality of Interaction in Asynchronous Discussion Forums in Fully Online Courses

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Distance Education Volume 33, Number 1, ISSN 0158-7919


Fully online courses are becoming progressively more popular because of their "anytime anywhere" learning flexibility. One of the ways students interact with each other and with the instructors within fully online learning environments is via asynchronous discussion forums. However, student engagement in online discussion forums does not always take place automatically and there is a lack of clarity about the ideal role of the instructors in them. In this article, we report on our research on the quality of discussion in fully online courses through analysis of discussion forum activities. We have conducted our research on two large fully online subjects for computing students over two consecutive semesters and used a grounded theoretic approach for data analysis. Our results reveal what students and instructors consider as quality interaction in fully online courses. We also propose two frameworks based on our findings that can be used to ensure effective online interaction. (Contains 6 tables.)


Nandi, D., Hamilton, M. & Harland, J. (2012). Evaluating the Quality of Interaction in Asynchronous Discussion Forums in Fully Online Courses. Distance Education, 33(1), 5-30. Retrieved May 6, 2021 from .

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