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Online module forums: espoused, actual and improved

Project leader(s): 
Barbara Jones
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Archived

The main goal was to analyse what actually occurred in the T313 and T317 TMA and EMA forums and to make comparisons between them with a view to

  1. understand how students actually perceive and use these forums
  2. if there is any information that is commonly sought after, within each module respectively, which would benefit students on other modules on the qualification pathway
  3. if there is a case to design the forums differently.

This was achieved by analysing the forum responses to answer 8 key research questions to provide both quantitative and qualitative answers. Forum messages were collected for both modules for the 18J presentation. The qualitative analysis was done in NVivo through hybrid coding using deductive and inductive themes.  The quantitative analysis was done using simple metrics in a spreadsheet.  The analysis of the forum messages was complimented by a survey of 18J and 19J presentations of both modules, thus obtaining information on the students’ perceptions.

There were a number of differences and similarities in the behaviour of the two modules’ students, both of which a corroborated to some degree in published literature.  There was no obvious ‘information’ which would be suited to collating for use on the appropriate qualification pathways.  The design of the modules was considered against the findings and literature review and a few possibilities for further work discussed.

An emergent outcome was the development of a framework for qualitative analysis of forum messages for any module in any faculty.

Related resources

Jones, B. (2021) Online module forums: Espoused, actual and improved. eSTEeM Final Report (PDF)

Jones, B. (2019) poster

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