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Article
Designing Asynchronous Online Discussion Environments: Recent Progress and Possible Future Directions
British Journal of Educational Technology
  • Fei Gao, Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
  • Tianyi Zhang
  • Teresa Franklin, Ohio University - Main Campus
Document Type
Article
Abstract

Asynchronous online discussion environments are important platforms to support learning. Research suggests, however, threaded forums, one of the most popular asynchronous discussion environments, do not often foster productive online discussions naturally. This paper explores how certain properties of threaded forums have affected or constrained the quality of discussions, and argues that developing alternative discussion environments is highly needed to offer better support for asynchronous online communication. Using the Productive Discussion Model developed by Gao, Wang & Sun (2009), we analyzed current work on four types of asynchronous discussion environments that have been developed and researched: constrained environments, visualized environments, anchored environments and combined environments. The paper has implications for developing future asynchronous discussion environments. More specifically, future work should aim at (a) exploring new environments that support varied goals of learning; (b) integrating emerging technologies to address the constraints of current environments; (c) designing multi-functional environments to facilitate complex learning, and (d) developing appropriate instructional activities and strategies for these environments.

Publisher's Statement
This is the accepted version of the following article: Gao, F., Zhang, T., & Franklin, T. (2013). Designing asynchronous online discussion environments: Recent progress and future directions. British Journal of Educational Technology, which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01330.x/abstract.
Publication Date
5-1-2013
Publisher
Wiley
ISSN
1467-8535
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01330.x
Citation Information
Fei Gao, Tianyi Zhang and Teresa Franklin. "Designing Asynchronous Online Discussion Environments: Recent Progress and Possible Future Directions" British Journal of Educational Technology Vol. 44 Iss. 3 (2013) p. 469 - 483
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gaof/3/