Exploring the Dimensions of Online Discussion

Credit: iStock.com/Rawpixel
Credit: iStock.com/Rawpixel
Why is online discussion worth discussing? For starters, many conversations about this unique form of interaction have centered on its merits. Is it better or worse than face-to-face discussion? As interesting as those conversations have been, what merits analysis now are the implications of those features that differentiate online from face-to-face discussion. Online discussions are written exchanges minus nonverbal cues, offered asynchronously and with required comments and responses tied to teacher-provided structures. Those separated but interconnected features have implications for the teacher who plans, facilitates, and assesses the exchanges; for students who are learning to engage in digital academic discourse; and for how course content is to be learned.

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