Teaching science through online, peer discussions: Speakeasy in the knowledge integration environment

Christopher M. Hoadley, Marcia C. Linn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Can students learn science from a carefully designed online peer discussion? This research contrasts two formats of contributed comments - historical debate and narrative text - and assesses the impact of an asynchronous discussion on student understanding of the nature of light. Students discuss the question: Why do paint chips look different colours in the hardware store than they do at home? We find that students gain integrated understanding of the nature of the colour from both discussion formats. The historical debate format succeeds for more students in part because the alternative views are more memorable and in part because the debate format models the process of distinguishing ideas. We discuss how online, asynchronous peer discussions can be designed to enhance cohesive understanding of science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-857
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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