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Denise Keaton

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Article Summary Read-Only Participants: a Case for Student Communication in Online Classes
Article Summary Read-Only Participants: A Case For Student Communication In Online Classes
Enrolment for online courses is booming, however there is a significantly lower rate of success to these classes than in the traditional classroom environment
The article “Read-only participants: a case for student communication in online classes” discusses the role of communication in online courses as well as explaining why some students succeed and others fail.
An 8 week study was done on a web based Master’s program. Online communication, class participation and group assignments were monitored Students fell into three categories: Distinction (75% or higher), Pass (50% - 74%) and Fail (less than 50%).
Students that were successful read a significant amount of course material, participated actively in discussions (via posts) where they used high critical thinking skills. The online communities were high functioning and healthy.
The facilitator (professor) greatly influenced the outcome of the class. The more interaction he had with the class through feedback and positive comments, the better the class involvement.
The unsuccessful students shared various factors. Coursework was not completed and they read only about half of the online course material. They scored low on collaboration and posted significantly fewer discussions than those that passed or excelled. The amount of peer interaction influences the quality of learning
The read only student logged in often but participated little. These students may feel that they are learning enough to pass the course but do not add to the learning community
In order to avoid a class of read only participants, the facilitator should require frequent logs, quality postings, grade individual contributions, rotate group members, foster...

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