Online Forum Discussion: Making Sense of How Knowledge is Woven in a Tapestry of Social Interactions and Collaboration

Lim , Tina Swee Kim (2009) Online Forum Discussion: Making Sense of How Knowledge is Woven in a Tapestry of Social Interactions and Collaboration. In: ICI9 - International Conference on Information, 12-13 August 2009, Kuala Lumpur.

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This paper describes how students in a wholly online master course interacted and collaborated in constructing knowledge through forum discussions. This examination of roles and behaviours of forum participants is an attempt by the author, who was the facilitator, to understand how her students engaged in constructing knowledge, rather than to test existing theories on online discussions. For each thread in the forum, an overall analysis of its life, captivity, magnitude and period of interaction was first analysed. Two discussion threads with the highest value for life of thread, captivity and magnitude were then examined in detail. A visual representation of the network of communication among participants was created to reveal the strength of relationships and structure of social network. Then, in trying to get a richer snapshot of the postings, three different analysis tools namely, Johnson and Johnson’s categories of behaviours in collaborative learning situations, Fahy’s Transcript Analysis Tool as well as Gunawardena, Lowe and Anderson’s constructivist knowledge creation phases, were used. An interesting finding is that even with minimal facilitator intervention in the forum, discovery and exploration of dissonance occurred and this had led to the negotiation of meaning, testing and modification of proposed synthesis of knowledge, and finally, application of newly constructed knowledge. Other findings from the analyses of the two threads include (1) there was much collaborative behaviour among participants in terms of contributing to discussions and seeking input, (2) there were several instances where participants were observed to connect what they had discussed in other threads by referring to those postings, and (3) several participants displayed reflective thinking in revealing their beliefs, doubts, and their reasoning.(Author's abstract)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Online forum discussion
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Depositing User: Shahril Effendi Ibrahim
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2009 00:08
Last Modified: 27 May 2013 05:50

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