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Say What? The Quality of Discussion Board Postings in Online Professional Development
New Horizons in Education (2010)
  • Kathleen A. Roskos, John Carroll University
  • Tania Jarosewich
  • Lisa Lenhart
  • Leann Krosnick
  • Lori Vargo
  • Christen Vance
  • James Salzman

Background: Asynchronous discussion boards provide opportunities for participants in online courses to engage with course content and extend learning through the process of discussion. However, simply requiring online discussion does not guarantee high-quality discussion posts and interactions. Goals: This study examined the extent to which discussion boards in the eRead Ohio online professional development courses support and extend learning and allow students to engage more deeply with the course materials. The study also examined the characteristics (i.e., rigor, relevance, etc.) of the discussion board prompts and the influence of the prompt on subsequent discussions. Research Methods: Researchers analyzed discussion boards from three of the 150 eRead Ohio online courses using a coding system developed by Puntambekar, which allows for coding of cognitive demand and the extent to which the posting is related to theory or course material aligned to the updated Bloom's taxonomy. Results: Teacher-participants reported increased insight into their practice and many described intended changes in practices. However, the vast majority of discussion prompts did not insist that students reflect and comment on course content in their response; few participants referred to course content to support current practices or changes in practice. Participants answered instructors' initial question and seldom challenged peers to higher levels of analysis or reflection. Although differences were evident among the level of prompts posed by instructors, neither the prompts nor responses reached high levels of the coding rubric, the level of the prompt was correlated with the level of responses that students produced. Questions that were rated at higher levels on the scoring rubric, in general, generated responses that fell at higher levels on the rubric. The methods applied for analysis in this study provide an example of a clear coding system to analyze discussion board activity during or after the completion of a course

Publication Date
December, 2010
Citation Information
Kathleen A. Roskos, Tania Jarosewich, Lisa Lenhart, Leann Krosnick, et al.. "Say What? The Quality of Discussion Board Postings in Online Professional Development" New Horizons in Education Vol. 58 Iss. 3 (2010)
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