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Case Study For Participants

1153 words - 5 pages

Read-only participants: A Case for Student Communication in Online Classes

A Case for Student Communication in Online Classes
Grand Canyon University: UNIV 501
9 July 2011

A Case for Student Communication in Online Classes
This article explains the importance of participation, interaction, and communication in the virtual classroom between the students and instructors. Many students today are enrolling in online classes to continue their education. Inside the online classroom, students began to meet and greet through discussion forums. Once a relationship and trust has been established between the students and instructors, an online community has been formed within ...view middle of the document...

Studies have demonstrated that online participation is essential to guarantee rewarding online course experience (Klemm, 1998; Rovai &Barnum, 2003; Swan, Shea, Fredericksen, Pickett, & Pelz, 2000).
The Case for read-only participation
Students who do not participate in the online course observe other students participation to discussions and learn from them. Beaudoin (2002) found that invisible students sometimes “spend a significant amount of time in learning-related tasks, including logging on, even when not visibly participating, and they feel they are still learning and benefiting from this low-profile approach to their online studies” (p.147). In the virtual community, we can all learn from one another in any shape, form, or fashion; however, how can one learn from someone who does not make their appearance visibly known? We cannot learn from someone who is not visible or active in the online classroom.
Facilitator participation
Whenever the instructor is more active in the virtual classroom, this prompts the student eagerness to learn. Students interact more when the instructors provide feedback to discussions and explanations to theories and concepts. Instructors interactions with their online class play a vital role in a student’s success in the online course
Context of the study
Nagel, Blignaut, and Cronje offered an 8 week elective course online to post graduate students that aged from 30 to 50 years. They used WebCT as the learning management system. During the first half of the course, students participated in discussion forums, contributing to the instructor’s assignments and responding to their peers’ posts. In the second half of the course, students had to participate in group assignments. And the final was concluded with an essay. The students’ experiences were observed and a research study was conducted. The students online posts, online quizzes, and tests were analyzed using ATLAS software (Nagel, Blignaut & Cronje, 2007).
Discussion
Student performances and visibility was tracked and recorded inside the virtual classroom. In order for Nagel to improve the completion rates, they had to identify the unproductive students. They used the learning managing system to determine how many times students open pages, participated in discussion forums, and other online material. This distinguished the successful students from the unsuccessful students. Unsuccessful students saw only about half the online material in the course (Nagel, Blignaut & Cronje, 2007). Successful students tended to participate more in discussion posts and they contributed more than the unsuccessful students. Group assignments seemed challenging and...

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