Theoretical Foundations of Online Discussion Pedagogy

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Asynchronous online discussion provides many benefits to learners, from its time and location flexibilities to collaborative learning and self-regulated learning. Many educators now view asynchronous online discussion as a valuable pedagogical tool to support student learning. Decision on how to use this pedagogical tool is largely based on one’s philosophical and theoretical positions and specific curriculum objectives of teaching and learning. This paper 1) summarizes current research on effective pedagogy of asynchronous online discussion and 2) analyzes the theoretical foundations of those pedagogical recommendations. A literature review of asynchronous online discussion pedagogy is based on research papers published from 2003 to 2008. Pedagogy recommended in the research is categorized under instructional/learning goals, instruction/learning process, instructional/learning outcome, and instructional/learning evaluation. The theoretical framework used for the analysis includes behaviorist learning theories, cognitive learning theories, constructivist learning theories, and humanistic learning theories. The analysis provides references for educators who plan to integrate asynchronous online discussion into the curriculum.


Keywords: Asynchronous Online Discussion, Pedagogy, Behaviorist Theories, Cognitive Theories, Constructivist Theories, Humanistic Theories
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Li Zhou

Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, Department of Early Childhood Education, Ohio University_Zanesville
Zanesville, Ohio, USA

Dr. Li Zhou is an assistant professor of early childhood education at Ohio University Zanesville. She received her B.A. in English from Sichuan Foreign Languages Institute in 1981. She received her M.A. in TESOL in 1994 and her Ed. D. in curriculum and instruction in 2003 from Indiana University of Pennsylvanian. Dr. Li Zhou’s research interests include theoretical foundations of educational technology, constructivist pedagogy, and humanistic learning.

Dr. Da Zhang

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science Technology, Ohio University - Lancaster
Lancaster, Ohio, USA

Dr. Da Zhang is currently an assistant professor of Computer Science Technology at Ohio University Lancaster. Dr. Da Zhang graduated from Anhui Normal University with BA in English Language and Literature in 1983 and then obtained his MA in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at University of Science and Technology of China in 1988. Since 1994, he continued his study and obtained his MS in Instructional Technology and Information Systems at East Texas State University, MS in Computer Science and Information Systems, and Ed.D in Supervision, Curriculum, Instruction in Higher Education at Texas A&M – Commerce. Dr. Da Zhang taught computer science and information system courses at Central Carolina Technical College in South Carolina, worked for Cisco networking regional academy, and now teach computer science technology at Ohio University Lancaster. Dr. Da Zhang’s main research interest lies in online course design and development, instructional technology in teaching science, and network emerging technologies such as network security, wireless network, and Web 2.0.

Ref: L09P1142