I was very interested to read the findings of Xie, Durrington and Yen (2011) published in the recently released issue of the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Given my current use of Twitter in my own university unit for preservice teachers, I was glad to read that others were also observing a relationship between participation in online asynchronous discussions and students’ level of motivation. I have reproduced their abstract here:
This study investigated the relationship between students’ motivation and their participation in asynchronous online discussions during a 16-week online course. Fifty-six students participated in
online discussion activities as a normal part of their classes. Their motivation for participating in online discussions was self-reported three times throughout the semester. The findings continue to
indicate that students’ motivation has a significant relationship with their participation in online discussion activities at time two and time three. Students’ perceived value, autonomy, competence,
and relatedness have different levels of impact on their online discussion behavior. This study also found that students’ intrinsic motivation and their perceived value of online discussions remained at a moderate-high level over time, although the perceived value had a significant drop from the midpoint to the end of the semester.
Keywords: Asynchronous Online Discussion, Motivation, Distance Learning, Collaborative
Learning, Learning Community
Reading this article has motivated me to collect my own data in the next week of classes, to gather some initial responses from my own students. I look forward to hearing their views!