The Role of Online, Asynchronous Interaction in Development of Light and Color Concepts
This study investigates the effect of asynchronous, online interaction on student conceptual understanding of light and color. Two versions (N and Y) of an online independent study module on light and color were randomly assigned to students (N = 144) enrolled in introductory science courses for non-science majors at three higher education institutions. Version Y included Internet message boards to facilitate required peer-peer interaction about the module content. Version N lacked message boards. The Light and Color Concepts Assessment Instrument (LCCAI) was administered to subjects in a pre-post test experimental design. A multivariate analysis of variance was calculated, showing that student achievement on two of the four LCCAI test items varied significantly as a function of the module version studied. Analysis of over 500 online postings in light of social constructivism indicated that significant scaffolding took place during online interactions. The authors conclude that the availability of interaction likely played an important role in online learning.