Time plays a fundamental role in both the benefits and challenges of using online discussions as a pedagogical tool. This makes temporal considerations critical both for conducting analyses of how learning takes places through online discussions and for designing effective structures to support discussion activity. However, despite the importance of temporal considerations for online discussions, the majority of research on online discussions and guidance for design does not explicitly address issues of time. This chapter provides an initial foundation for researchers, designers, and instructors of online discussions to engage in temporally aware analysis and design. The authors begin with an overview of the general temporal characteristics of online discussions and the analytic considerations they raise in terms of timescales, data aggregation, and units of analysis. They then use the categories of Duration, Sequence, Pace, and Salience as a framework for unpacking the temporal aspects of online discussions in more detail, providing guidance for designers and instructors to manage temporal challenges and harness temporal opportunities. The authors conclude with a call for greater theorization of temporal properties, processes, and their effects on learning to support more informed analysis and design of online discussions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Social Sciences