Asynchronous Electronic Discussion Group: Analysis of Postings and Perception of In-service Teachers

Tina Lim Swee KIM
Wong Kiet WAH
Tan Ai LEE

This paper examines the practice of online discussion in a course specially tailored for in-service teachers who are pursuing their basic degree qualification at a teacher training institute. Analyses of postings to the asynchronous electronic discussion group were made according to the type of postings as proposed by Poole (2000). Four focus areas were looked into, that is, content, technical, procedural, or non-academic. Analyses were done for each quarter of the 12 weeks of interaction. At the end of the learners’ participation in the EDG and before their end-of-course examination, the participants were then given a paper-based questionnaire asking their perceptions on the use of EDG as part of their coursework on the whole. Six aspects of EDG were examined, these are; Ø technical aspects, Ø motivation to use the EDG, Ø quality of interaction, Ø tutor’s response, Ø perceived learning, and Ø attitude towards EDG. Analyses on postings for the EDG showed that the bulk of the postings were made in the last quarter of the online discussions. Further, 97.8% of the postings were on content and the types of content posting registered were predominantly questions (41.19%) and those that sought clarification/elaboration (37.48%). Findings from this study suggest that overall the participants were satisfied with the six aspects of EDG examined. The aspect that recorded the highest mean was ‘motivation to read tutor’s responses’ whilst the lowest mean (and the only one with negative perception) was for ‘worthiness of time spent on online discussions’.

KEYWORDS: Asynchronous Electronic Discussion Groups; Online Discussion; Postings.