A Reflection On Student Discussions In An Asynchronous Environment

Abraham Tlhalefang Motlhabane


This study is a reflection on the online discussions of students in an honours degree module. The participants were distance education students at one of the distance education institutions in South Africa. To determine the level of participation and which topics were posted on the discussion forum, transcripts of discussion forums were analysed. Transcripts of these discussions, transcribed verbatim as they occurred over a period of 3 years (2012, 2013 and 2014), served as the largest data set for this particular investigation. The discussion transcripts were examined to determine if there were evidence of any learning having occurred in the module. The results of this study indicated that the majority of topics that the students post on the discussion forum are personal. Instead of discussing subject content the discussion forum was used by students to send complaints to the lecturer or to find study partners through posting their personal contact details like email addresses and cellphone numbers. Recommendations were made for the planning of future discussion forums.


distance education, discussion forum, asynchronous, synchronous

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