The relationship between academic discipline and dialogic behavior in open university course forums

  • Paul Gorsky
  • Avner Caspi
  • Avishai Antonovsky
  • Ina Blau
  • Asmahan Mansur
Keywords: academic disciplines, disciplinary differences, asynchronous forums, dialogic behavior, community of inquiry model, virtual learning community, golden mean

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between disciplinary difference (exact and natural sciences versus humanities) and the dialogic behavior that occurred in Open University course forums. Dialogic behavior was measured in terms of students’ and instructors’ active participation in the forum (posting a message) as well as amounts and proportions of “teaching presence,” “cognitive presence,” and “social presence.” We found that active participation in the science forums was much higher than in the humanities forums. We also found a ratio among the three presences that was constant across different academic disciplines, as well as across different group sizes and course types.

Author Biographies

Paul Gorsky
Dr. Paul Gorsky is a Research Associate and faculty member in the Department of Education and Psychology at The Open University of Israel. His research is directed toward theories of instruction, instructional technology and the development of intelligent and adaptive instructional systems. Dr. Gorsky is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of a not-for-profit organization that offers extra-curricular, hands-on, inquiry based science enrichment programs for gifted and “science oriented” youth throughout Israel.
Avner Caspi
Dr. Avner Caspi is a senior faculty member in the Department of Education and Psychology at The Open University of Israel. He received his doctorate in Cognitive Psychology at Tel Aviv University. His research interests include instructional theory, the role of dialogue in instructional systems and socio-psychological aspects of Internet use.
Avishai Antonovsky
Dr. Avishai Antonovsky is a faculty member in the Department of Education and Psychology at The Open University of Israel. His doctorate, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is in the field of legal psychology. His research interests include the social psychology of legal decision-making, and aviation psychology in the context of social relationships among air-crew members and air-traffic controllers. Dr. Antonovsky is also Academic Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Education at the Open University of Israel.
Ina Blau
Ina Blau is a faculty member in the Department of Education and Psychology at the Open University of Israel where she teaches graduate courses in the field of Educational Technologies. She is currently finishing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Haifa. Her main research interests are social aspects of e-communication, cyber-psychology, online learning communities, and integration of synchronous and asynchronous communication in teaching and learning.
Asmahan Mansur
Asmahan Mansur recently completed her Master's degree in educational technology at The Open University of Israel. She currently guides and facilitates "listening circles" - groups who cultivate mutual awareness and understanding by sharing their thoughts and by hearing one another's perspectives.
Published
2010-05-27
How to Cite
Gorsky, P., Caspi, A., Antonovsky, A., Blau, I., & Mansur, A. (2010). The relationship between academic discipline and dialogic behavior in open university course forums. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 11(2), 49-72. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v11i2.820
Section
Research Articles