Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 89–107 | Cite as

Strategies for grading online discussions: Effects on discussions and classroom community in internet-based university courses

  • Alfred P. RovaiEmail author


RESEARCH INTO WAYS of increasing sense of community in online courses is important as students with strong feelings of community are more likely to persist in their online educational programs than students who feel alienated and alone. An ex post facto causal-comparative study was conducted at a Christian university to investigate how different strategies for grading online discussions influenced both the discussions and sense of classroom community in 18 graduate-level courses (N=262) delivered at a distance using the BlackboardSM e-learning system. Evidence was produced that suggests grading strategies influence online discussions and discussions are related to students’ sense of community. In particular, there were significantly more discussions per student per week and higher levels of sense of community in courses where discussions were a graded course component. Moreover, students with stronger feelings of being connected with others in their online courses also felt more satisfied that their educational goals were being met by their distance education program.


classroom community distance education asynchronous learning networks higher education online discussions 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Regent University School of EducationVirginia Beach

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