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Students' Activity Focus in Online Asynchronous Peer Learning Forums

Author(s): Alessio GASPAR | Sarah LANGEVIN | Naomi BOYER | William ARMITAGE

Journal: Informatics in Education
ISSN 1648-5831

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 19;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: CS-1 | Introductory programming courses | Peer learning forums | Online asynchronous course | Blackboard forums

This qualitative study explores how using Peer Learning Forums (PLF) in an online asynchronous computer programming course can be analyzed to derive information about Student Activity Focus (SAF) for adult Information Technology students. Three instruments are proposed to assist instructors classify questions posted by students on these forums, obtain easy quantitative measures of their SAF, and use it to gain a better understanding of the type of learning barriers they are encountering. In addition, we also look at the difference in SAF between passing and failing students based on their exam performance. The PLF learning activity and the classification instruments are easily adaptable to other disciplines or courses and allow instructors and students alike to gain a better understanding of what kind of participation is helpful in online asynchronous discussion forums.
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