A Virtual Tutorial - Engagement and Encounter in an On-line

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This case study describes the implementation of an asynchronous discussion board as a vehicle for in depth consideration of pedagogical issues within a pre-service teacher education subject. The study uses evidence gathered with a range of methods from participants over a number of cohorts to examine students understanding of content issues, the nature of on-line interactions and the development of learning communities. Decisions about the design of the learning environment and the freedoms and responsibilities of the participating lecturers and students are described and related to the literature (McAteer et al, 1997; Hedberg, J. et al. 1998; Levin, 1999). Drawing on a number of theoretical models (Gunawardena, Lowe, & Anderson, 1997; Wilson and Whitelock, 1997) and a framework developed by Henri (McLoughlin and Luca, 1999) an analysis is made of the discussion board transcripts. The results suggest that the structured probe and response organisation of the board and the cooperative grouping of student and lecturer participants generated deep consideration of subject content, a spontaneous and energetic communication and the development of a self regulating learning community.