“The Method (and Madness) of Evaluating Online Discussion”

Katrina A. Meyer.  “The Method (and Madness) of Evaluating Online Discussions.  The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, volume 10, number 4 (2006): 83-97.

Abstract: In addressing how to evaluate online discussions, this paper will describe several concepts, tools, or frameworks that have been used in evaluations and discuss differences in approach based on instructor purpose, be it research, assessment, or learning. Then several common problems are described, including use of content analysis, identification of latent content, inadequate training of coders, lack of reliability, and choosing the correct unit of analysis. Two examples are provided of coding decisions made on portions of student discussions; these examples use two different frameworks to elucidate the process and its difficulties. Conclusions focus on the importance of following standard good research or assessment practice and preparing for a time-consuming and often frustrating coding process.

The full article is available for free here.

Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom

Palloff, Rena M., and Keith Pratt. “Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom.”  17th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning.

Abstract: Teaching in cyberspace involves more than taking traditional teaching models and transferring them to a different medium. The use of online distance learning is creating changes in the delivery of education in general. Changes in online distance learning are also occurring rapidly, predominantly in the ways courses are developed and delivered. This paper and session, based on the presenters’ experience of over 7 years of online teaching and their two books, Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace and Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom, explores best practices in delivering online courses.

The paper is available on the conference website here.