Peer Teaching in Web Based Threaded Discussions
This study is, as an inquiry into the effectiveness of discussion leadership taxonomy, designed to help online discussion leaders support and facilitate discussions conducted by undergraduates. Participants were approximately two hundred preservice undergraduate students taking an Introduction to Educational Technology course. Each week students had access to online lectures and text materials, and participated in Web-based topical discussions. Data for this study came from open-ended interviews conducted with thirty-seven volunteer participants, and from all discussion posts. Analysis of the data showed that while some students had difficulty assuming the role of discussion leader, many felt that it was a stimulating challenge. The Tips for Online Leaders proved to be useful in promoting learning and provided discussion leaders with a variety of support strategies. While some students were resistant to Web-based learning, all students found that the discussions helped in learning the assigned material. Finally, the students were able to expand their own knowledge by observing the multiple perspectives presented by other students.