The Use of Issue-Based Asynchronous Online Discussions to Supplement In-Class Discussions among Non-Native English Speaking Trainee Teachers

By Brinda Oogarah-Pratap.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Mauritius, a small island of two thousand square kilometers in the South West of the Indian Ocean, uses English as the official medium of instruction in all state-funded educational institutions, although English is not the mother tongue of the vast majority of Mauritians. With wider access to computers and Internet across the island, there has been a call for teacher educators at the local teacher training institution to use asynchronous online discussion as part of teacher education programs to enhance learning. While the promises of asynchronous online discussion to extend classroom discussions have been widely researched, few studies have been conducted among non-native English speakers. A study was thus conducted to analyse the postings to issue-based asynchronous online discussions that were designed to supplement in-class discussions within an undergraduate level course. The study participants (n = 6), all of whom were non-native English speakers, were required to participate (in English) in two issue-based asynchronous online discussion forums. Quantitative measures were used to determine instructor and student participation rates in the online forums. In addition, content analysis, based on Henri’s model, was used to qualitatively analyse all students’ online postings for depth of information processing (surface or deep). Findings revealed that students made significant contributions to the online discussions, both quantitatively and qualitatively, mainly due to the design features of the online discussions. The study concludes by highlighting some special points to consider when designing and implementing issue-based asynchronous online discussions.

Keywords: Asynchronous Online Discussions, Issue-based, Design, Trainee Teachers, Non-Native English Speaking

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp.409-422. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.201MB).

Dr Brinda Oogarah-Pratap

Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Sciences, Mauritius Institute of Education, Reduit, Mauritius

I am currently involved in the training of teachers (pre- and in-service) in the primary and secondary education sectors of Mauritius. I service mainly courses in Health and Nutrition Education. My research interests include health and nutrition education and the integration of a web-based environment in teacher training programmes (both in-service and pre-service programmes). I hold a masters degree in public health nutrition from the Univerity of Massachusetts, USA and a post-graduate certificate in online education from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia. I am currently pursuing my doctoral studies in online education with the University of Southern Queensland.

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