Roles and student identities in online large course forums: Implications for practice
The use of large online discussion forums within online and distance learning continues to grow. Recent innovations in online learning such as the MOOC (massive open online course) and concomitant growth in the use of online media for the delivery of courses in traditional campus based universities provide both opportunity and challenge for online tutors and learners alike. The recognition of the role that online tutors and student identity plays in the field of retention and progression of distance learners is also well documented in the field of distance learning. Focusing on a course forum linked to a single Level 2 undergraduate module and open to over 1,000 students, this ideographic case study, set in a large distance learning university, uses qualitative methodology to examine the extent to which participation in a large forum can be considered within community of practice (COP) frameworks and contributes to feelings of efficacy, student identity, and motivation. The paper draws on current theory pertaining to online communities and examines this in relation to the extent to which the forum adds to feelings of academic and social integration. The study concludes that although the large forum environment facilitates a certain degree of academic integration and identity there is evidence that it also presents a number of barriers producing negative effects on student motivation and online identity.
Copyright (c) 2014 Jacqueline Aundree Baxter, Jo Haycock
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.
This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.
You are free to
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.