The asynchronous discussion board as an assessment tool: a critical appraisal
conference contributionposted on 25.05.2006, 17:13 authored by Jeremy B. Williams
This paper reports on the preliminary findings of a study on the efficacy of asynchronous discussion forums within an on-line MBA course, currently enrolling students from all over the world, from many different time zones. The institution offering this course, Universitas 21 Global (U21G), is committed to a pedagogy founded on problem-based learning and extensive use is made of Harvard Business School case studies. Importantly, there is explicit recognition that, as adult learners, U21G students are ‘active partners in the design and implementation of their academic experience’ (Rossman 1999), and that they have as much to learn from each other as they do from the texts, the courseware and other media. To this end, the efficient use of an asynchronous discussion board tool is considered to be crucial to the success of the student learning process. However, to date, efforts to encourage high quality participation in on-line discussions have produced mediocre results. This study suggests that this may be an outcome of the way contributions to discussion boards are assessed.
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