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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Private Interactions in Online Discussions: Instructor Perspectives

Private Interactions in Online Discussions: Instructor Perspectives
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Author(s): Lesley Wilton (University of Toronto, Canada), Rubaina Khan (University of Toronto, Canada), Clare Brett (University of Toronto, Canada)and Paul C. Alexander (University of Toronto, Canada)
Copyright: 2023
Pages: 29
Source title: Research Anthology on Remote Teaching and Learning and the Future of Online Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7540-9.ch102


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Private discussion entries (called “notes” in this chapter) provide opportunities for instructors to engage with students for social and cognitive support in discussion-based online learning environments. Situated within discussion threads, embedded private communication allows for personalized engagement with students to support learning through in-place feedback, redirection, and encouragement. Nine themes of the affordances of private notes were identified through the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered from four instructors and the activities of 278 students in 11 online graduate education courses. The benefits of private, in-place interactions identified by the instructors include encouraging authentic participation, building trust and social presence, redirecting conversation, providing advice about learning online, and more. A discussion of the importance of in-place private communications in online learning for providing feedback, reassurance, and guidance is supported by examples and followed by suggestions for future research.

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