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Attracting student participation in asynchronous online discussions: A case study of peer facilitation


Computers & Education Volume 51, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Previous research studies on how to promote student participation in asynchronous online discussions have largely focused on the role of the instructor or tutor as facilitators. Not many investigated student facilitation. This article reports a qualitative study examining the facilitation techniques used by student facilitators to attract their course mates to participate in asynchronous online discussions. Data were collected from the students’ reflection logs and students’ online postings. To explore the extent to which student participation in an online discussion forum is successful, we looked at the depth of discussion threads. We deemed a student facilitator to have successfully attracted other students to participant if the discussion threads had a depth of six or more levels of students’ postings. We then examined in detail and reported the facilitation techniques that were exhibited by the student facilitators. Results showed that seven facilitation techniques were employed; the most frequently used were Socratic questioning and sharing personal opinions or experiences. We end by exploring potential implications for practice and for future research.


Hew, K.F. & Cheung, W.S. (2008). Attracting student participation in asynchronous online discussions: A case study of peer facilitation. Computers & Education, 51(3), 1111-1124. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 30, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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