Spill-Over Effects in Online Discussions? Assessing the Effectiveness of Student Preceptors

22 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2012 Last revised: 31 Dec 2012

See all articles by Kerstin Hamann

Kerstin Hamann

University of Central Florida

Philip H. Pollock

University of Central Florida

Bruce M. Wilson

University of Central Florida

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Studies on active learning in college classrooms evince that student-student interaction in discussion settings is beneficial to learning as it promotes cognitive engagement, student satisfaction, and positive learning outcomes including higher-order learning and critical thinking skills. While these findings apply primarily to the face-to-face classroom, recent research indicates that these positive outcomes can also be effectively recreated in the online environment. In this study, we offer a preliminary look at the efficacy of a conditioning intervention: The role of student preceptors in promoting student interaction and elevating discussion quality. Using data from 23 discussion groups in a large (279 students) online course, we measure qualitative indicators of discussion activity under two quasi-experimental conditions: preceptor-as-student and preceptor-as-GTA. In the control condition, no student preceptor was present. We find that high-quality postings made by a student preceptor indeed triggers higher-quality postings by other students, especially those that post in temporal proximity to the preceptor.

Suggested Citation

Hamann, Kerstin and Pollock, Philip H. and Wilson, Bruce M., Spill-Over Effects in Online Discussions? Assessing the Effectiveness of Student Preceptors (2012). APSA 2012 Teaching & Learning Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1997647

Kerstin Hamann (Contact Author)

University of Central Florida ( email )

Dept. Of Political Science P.O. Box 161356
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States
407-823 2608 (Phone)
407-823 0051 (Fax)

Philip H. Pollock

University of Central Florida ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

Bruce M. Wilson

University of Central Florida ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

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