Creating a sense of normality : A quantitative study examining how a digital collaborative tool impacts students’ experiences in online synchronous group discussions

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Jönköping University/Tekniska Högskolan; Jönköping University/Tekniska Högskolan

Sammanfattning: Purpose – The unexpected yet drastic influence of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a rapid transition of education to be conducted in digital environments. Replacing face-to-face classrooms with synchronous online learning requires a number of appropriate adjustments which were heavily restricted by the urgency of this global change taking place. With theobserved issues of student participation and involvement in online learning, the purpose ofthis research was to investigate the potential that digital collaborative tools have and if theycan improve the quality of online group discussions among students aged 12 to 16 years old. Method – This study employs a quantitative data collection approach and makes use of the Community of Inquiry framework. A close-ended questionnaire based on the Community of Inquiry survey tool was used to collect students’ impressions and attitudes after they hadparticipated in the experimental study. The experiment consisted of control and experimental groups that partook in online group discussions as part of a regularly scheduled lesson. Findings – Digital collaborative tools were found to change the way in which students experience online group discussions. The attained rates of the Community of Inquiry were overall higher among students in the experimental group. Our findings tested to be statistically significant together with the effect size falling between medium to large extent. This further supports the notion that digital collaborative tools bring in a positive difference into online group discussions and have a potential to increase the quality of online learning when implemented carefully and thoughtfully. Implications – This study emphasizes the importance of developing a clear strategy of how to implement suitable digital collaborative tools into online learning in the most optimal manner that would increase the quality of online learning. This paper can be considered as a startingpoint for future research that could construct further knowledge within the field and extend our findings by investigating other aspects that have an influence on and can have beneficial effects for younger students in online education.

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