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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Blackboard (version 6) is an Internet-based course management system to facilitate communication between instructors and students in classes by making important documents and announcements available to students.

  2. 2.

    Minspeak® is a language representation system consisting of a set of icons with multiple meanings designed to allow fast access to words and messages through short, sequenced combinations of those icons.

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Correspondence to John W. McCarthy.

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McCarthy, J.W., Smith, J.L. & DeLuca, D. Using online discussion boards with large and small groups to enhance learning of assistive technology. J Comput High Educ 22, 95–113 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-010-9031-6

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Keywords

  • Questionnaire
  • Graduate
  • Online
  • Discussion boards
  • Assistive technology
  • Augmentative and alternative communication