Effective online interaction: Mapping course design to bridge from research to practice
AbstractQuantitative and qualitative research of a case study course confirmed that the course achieved a highly interactive learning experience, associated with more effective student support and high student retention. Computer conferencing achieved high participation from the beginning and evidence of dialogue and argumentation within online tutor groups. This was achieved not by active tutor moderation but by a sequence of structured tasks. Compendium mind mapping software has been used to represent the design of this sequence of tasks and this has refined interpretation of the research findings. The positive outcomes identified relate not purely to computer conferencing but to an integration of individual and group tasks feeding forward into a well-designed assignment. The usability of case study data relates to the ability of practitioners to compare their own context with that of the case. The visual representation of the design of the task sequence is providing a better bridge from the research to the practice context than the use of general description of findings alone. This is particularly important in an area which has generated a range of sometimes conflicting findings, with weak links to the challenges of course design.
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