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Wednesday, June 17 • 12:00pm - 12:30pm
CON02.02 - An analysis of the quality of student-led asynchronous discussions in on-line and blended learning courses

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In this study we examine the pedagogical value of student-led asynchronous on-line discussions used in a first-year undergraduate Criminology class at Simon Fraser University. The course is offered in both distance education and blended-learning (includes weekly two-hour lectures) formats. Once during the term, each student produces an on-line presentation (PowerPoint format - no voice over or camera required) and two discussion questions and is also responsible for facilitating student discussion. Each student is also an assigned discussant for four different presentations during the course. In 2013, students were invited to complete an on-line survey regarding student perceptions of the delivery of this course. Our project emerged during our analysis of the 2013 survey which showed that not all students were fans of the online presentations and discussions. As instructors and teaching assistants we wanted to evaluate our perceptions because we felt that for the most part, the on-line discussions were of considerably higher quality than what we had experienced leading traditional first-year tutorials in-person discussions. The on-line discussion posts were often well-edited, thoughtful, engaging, and evidenced critical thinking. Despite the fact that students didn’t necessarily agree (Paechter & Maier 2010), our research findings support the value of well-designed and moderated asynchronous discussions in an on-line educational setting (Andresen, 2009). Finally, we address study-specific implications and advantages for EAL (English Additional Language) students and the use of on-line tutorial technology (Zeng & Takatsuka, 2009; Dang & Robertson, 2010). Opportunities for audience feedback and questions will be encouraged throughout. 


Andresen, M. A. (2009). Asynchronous discussion forums: Success factors, outcomes, assessments, and limitations. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12(1), 249-257.

Dang, T. T., & Robertson, M. (2010). Pedagogical lessons from students' participation in Web 2.0. [Article]. TESOL in Context, 20(2), 5-26. 

Paechter, M., & Maier, B. (2010). Online or face-to-face? Students' experiences and preferences in e-learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(4), 292-297. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2010.09.004

Zeng, G., & Takatsuka, S. (2009). Text-based peer–peer collaborative dialogue in a computer-mediated learning environment in the EFL context. System, 37(3), 434-446.

avatar for Sheri Fabian

Sheri Fabian

University Lecturer, Simon Fraser University
Dr. Sheri Fabian is a University Lecturer in the School of Criminology and  Director of Transforming Inquiry into Teaching and Learning (TILT, formerly ISTLD),  at Simon Fraser University. Her teaching and research focus on minorities and justice, qualitative research methods, and... Read More →

Wednesday June 17, 2015 12:00pm - 12:30pm PDT
Bayshore Salon EF

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