Teaching and Assessing Online Discussions: A Case Study


Asynchronous multi-threaded discussions have become increasingly widespread. This paper deals with some aspects of challenges faced by educators in teaching and assessing such interactions. The main purpose of this paper is to explore the use of Conversational Floors approach for assessing student interactions as well as for providing guidance and feedback to students. A small-scale study was conducted where thirty engineering students studying Communication Skills participated. The conversational floor space was created to discuss an oral presentation task. Interactional analysis demonstrates that while teaching and assessing online interaction formally or informally, attention should be focused on production of meaning rather than on discrete units of such interaction. Knowing who the floor holder is and who is speaking thus gives substantial support in finding who is being addressed by the speaker. It is concluded that knowing the floor holder, the addressee, the active listener, and the bystander helps provide a more practical framework for teaching and assessing online interactions. Finally, although leaderless environments initially present a challenge to the learner as well as to the teachers, it is seen from the case study that such environments create an enriched interaction experience.

Author Information
Anil Pathak, Institut Teknologi Brunei, Brunei Darussalam

Paper Information
Conference: IICLL2015
Stream: Open Learning Initiative (OLI)

This paper is part of the IICLL2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon