Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

John Hooker


Discussion boards are one of the most popular forms of asynchronous discussion in online classes. Utilized by instructors in asynchronous and synchronous courses to facilitate class discussions, they offer a means for the class to communicate among each other and with the instructor. Few researchers have examined how the use of discussion boards in the online classroom affects instructor mediated immediacy, student motivation, affective learning, connectedness, and the online learning climate. This study sought to examine the influence of discussion boards on these variables. After review of research on discussion boards and related variables, participants completed a questionnaire composed of closed- and open-ended questions. Students currently enrolled in an asynchronous or synchronous, online class which utilized asynchronous discussion boards completed the survey to determine their perceptions of how discussion boards affected their learning and connection in the course. A multivariate ANOVA test found differences occurring between the discussion boards optional condition (M = 70.75, SD = 20.72) and both the no discussion boards condition (M = 87.38, SD = 20.12) and the required, graded discussion boards condition (M = 84.72, SD = 18.96) for motivation. A thematic analysis revealed consistent themes for all other dependent variables. Participants utilized discussion boards most commonly only if it were for a grade and felt discussion boards did not bring them closer to their instructor. Discussion boards were seen as a place for student-to-student conversation, but they did not bring students closer on a personal level or contribute to the online learning climate positively.


Imported from Schultz_ilstu_0092N_12068.pdf


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