Article Summary: Read-Only Participants: A Case for Student Communication in Online Classes
As technology advances more and more, computers and internet have become more accessible, affordable, and ever so popular in recent times. With easy accessibility to internet, the online learning environment is a growing trend. Schools all over the nation offer online programs and fast earning degrees. Students from different demographics and age groups fill online classrooms making it even more popular. However, with such diversity in the classroom how does the instructor control communication in the classroom? Does the lack of participation from fellow students influence the learning environment? ...view middle of the document...
The authors used the different tools provided online in order to analyze participation from each student, not only with each other but also with the instructor. Among other research methods, they used a qualitative methodology in order to analyze students' participation, and the reaction of the class toward less participating individuals (Nagel et. al.,2007). Using previously researched scholar articles and books, the authors were able to base their search, follow certain guidelines and compare their results with other results. Using tests such as the Kruskall-Wallis non-parametric test, Nagel et. al.(2007) were able to examine the differences in performance based on each grade group.
Their primary findings was that participation and communication is certainly a requirement for successful completion of online courses. When instructors are involved and encourage students to participate it motivates students to not give up or drop the class. They were able to classify students into different categories, and they found these types of students in the online class:
• Read only students who do not participate;
• Highly visible students who posts a lot but without contributing much of value;
• Invisible students who blame internet connectivity or high costs;
• Absent student for various reasons that try to stay on track;
• Non-contributing students that do not share with the class.
Furthermore, by analyzing the different modalities in the online class such as looking at the discussion posts of each student, quality of assignments, and participation in the collaborative group assignments Nagel et. al.(2007) were able to draw their own conclusions. These authors found that if a student did not contribute in class and participate in the discussion forums as required, replied to other classmates and maintained open communication channels with the instructor it would be hard to succeed or even be able to complete the course. A key point is to develop a sense of community with other students in the class which in turn will help more students to participate in the course. Their studies clearly...