Toward the development of analysis of students' cognitive processes in an online course Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2n49t438x

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  • This study examined a web-based undergraduate course structured around social learning theories through the lens of social construction as a theoretical framework and a case study research method. The purpose of the study was to investigate students' learning experiences from a cognitively guided research framework. Instructional strategies practiced in the course, instructional design developed, and demonstrated students' learning outcomes were examined to help characterize students' learning experiences. The study proceeded from a social constructivist framework, employing a qualitative case study approach. Data collected to support the description of students' learning experiences included early course survey, in-depth interviews, course documents, students' artifacts, online class interactions, email correspondences among participants, and the researcher's journals based on online observations. The results of the study reveal that students' learning experiences and learning outcomes were greatly affected by the instructor's belief about teaching a distance course. Her belief that students should be fully responsible for their own learning in the web-based course resulted in minimal facilitation of the class in all aspects, including moderating students' online discussions, fostering learning communities within the class, and providing elaborate, critical feedback to elicit students' cognitive processes. As a result, the engaged cognitive processes and knowledge domains students demonstrated over the term were not significantly improved. Furthermore, the course goal of establishing a collaborative, interactive, and social learning environment for distance students was not met. The results of this study contribute to the picture of the facilitation skills and moderating practices that support more fully the goal of the development of a cognitively rich learning community.
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