Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 95–113 | Cite as

Using online discussion boards with large and small groups to enhance learning of assistive technology

  • John W. McCarthyEmail author
  • Julia L. Smith
  • Danielle DeLuca


There is a need for further research to understand the potential uses of asynchronous electronic discussions in higher education courses. Electronic discussion boards were conducted with two different graduate speech-language pathology student cohorts to supplement in-class instruction regarding assistive technology. One year’s discussions were done as a single large group while the second year’s were done in multiple-small groups. These discussion boards were analyzed for emerging themes. Students’ opinions of the discussion board, along with their suggestions for improvement, were also requested and analyzed. Results indicated that the discussion boards were a successful tool in maximizing the potential for knowledge acquisition outside the classroom and that several enhancements could be added to improve the overall experience. In particular, instructor involvement was more easily incorporated into large groups and small groups had fewer students reporting about redundancy of posts. Practical applications and future research directions are discussed.


Questionnaire Graduate Online Discussion boards Assistive technology Augmentative and alternative communication 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. McCarthy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julia L. Smith
    • 1
  • Danielle DeLuca
    • 1
  1. 1.W218 Grover CenterOhio UniversityAthensUSA

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