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Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Hobgood, Bobby
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • The purpose of this research study was to explore the perceptions of high school students with respect to motivation, enjoyment, and learning from online discussions in an online course. A targeted sample of students was selected to share their perceptions through an anonymous online survey administered at the end of their Advanced Placement Psychology course. Study results are intended to inform the stakeholders in the K-12 online learning arena and include online instructors, guidance counselors, curriculum specialists, administrators and classroom teachers. Specifically, the findings are intended to contribute to a baseline of research for understanding the dynamics of online courses from the student's perspective. Findings were discussed according to the elements of an effective online course as described in Garrison et al.'s Community of Inquiry model (2000). This research study discovered a strong relationship between student perceptions of motivation and enjoyment and student perceptions of learning from online discussions. Statistical analysis found no significant difference between the perceptions of males and females in this study. Findings indicated that 77% of students agreed that online discussion was a great chance to share opinions among peers and their instructor. Likewise, more than 55% of students expressed an enjoyment of online discussions on four survey items related specifically to that construct. Reaction was mixed to questions related to motivation from online discussions. By contrast, more than 50% of students indicated that they learned from their involvement in online discussions, though responses suggested that they did not learn directly from peers. Findings indicated that 70% of students did not see online discussions as decreasing the quality of learning they experienced. Though not included in statistical calculations, student comments suggested a need for increased instructor involvement and feedback in online discussions. Students also suggested the need for more discussion while paying attention to how discussions are used by the instructor and by peers. Comments reflected a disdain for participation requirements like number of postings or length of posting. Students shared an appreciation for the ability to engage in discussion in the absence of barriers that traditionally interfere with equitable participation in class discussions.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Day, Barbara
  • Doctor of Education
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education
Graduation year
  • 2007

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