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Participation patterns in small-group asynchronous and synchronous online seminars
2006 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Most researchers seem too agree on the usefulness of asynchronous media in online education.However, recently some have called for mixed media approchaes since each medium of communication may privilege but also marginalize certain ways of learning. A challenge of research is to gain a deeper understanding of how asynchronous and synchronous media may support and limit participation. This is explored by analyzing four online seminars with a small group of students from Argentina (n=3) and Sweden (n=5). Since the group of students was small the results need to be interpreted cautiously. In two of the seminars an asynchronous discussion forum was used and in the other two synchronous chat. Data on both actual and perceived participation was collected through questionnaires and electronic logs. The data indicated that the synchronous medium enabled students to contribute more frequently and equally. The combination of media seemed beneficial since the students participated in different ways when using different media. As known since previous research, the asynchronous seminares were found to be very content-focused. However, in the synchronous seminars, students not only exchanged information about course content but also planned work and interacted socially. Notably, different students dominated the discussions by different media. The Argentineans contributed most frequently in the synchronous seminars but not in the asynchronous ones. Finally, it is argued that there is a need for both means of communitaion in online education since the two types of media may be exploited for different pedagogicall purposes

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Computer and Information Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-58072OAI: diva2:473002
the 5th European Conference on e-Learning, Winchester
QC 20120116Available from: 2012-01-04 Created: 2012-01-04 Last updated: 2012-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Hrastinski, Stefan
Computer and Information Science

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