Early Participation in Asynchronous Writing Environments and Course Success

Volume, Issue - Date: 
Volume 16, Issue 1 - January 2012
Author(s): 
Scott Warnock, Drexel University
Author(s): 
Kenneth Bingham, Drexel University
Author(s): 
Dan Driscoll, Drexel University
Author(s): 
Jennifer Fromal, Drexel University
Author(s): 
Nicholas Rouse, Drexel University
Oganization: 
Drexel University
Full article - Free: Click on the file to download.: 
Keywords: 
online, hybrid, asynchronous, participation, volition, procrastination, motivation, writing, message board, grades, learning effectiveness
Abstract: 

Many researchers have documented connections between student motivation/proactive student behavior and academic success. This study investigates if early participation on course message boards is connected with success in online and hybrid courses. Investigating 12 first-year writing classes, eight hybrid and four fully online, the authors found that first posters on course message boards had better grades than the class final average in every course, and later posters tended to have lower grades than the course average. The researchers also correlated course performance with average length of posts, finding earlier posts to be longer. This study was conducted in two phases, with the researchers initially investigating six courses and then engaging in a more robust analysis with additional metrics of six additional courses. The results provide teachers with evidence to support the connection between student volition and success in classes that rely heavily on learning in asynchronous writing environments.