The following article is now available from the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching:
Della Noce, D. J., Scheffel, D., & Lowry, M. (2014). Questions that get answered: The construction of instructional conversations on online asynchronous discussion boards. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(1), 80-96.
Abstract: On online asynchronous discussion boards, instructor questions are considered a driving force in student engagement and learning. Yet, students can and do choose not to answer questions from instructors. In this paper, the authors report on a qualitative study in which they analyzed instructor-student interaction on an asynchronous discussion board in order to determine which instructor’s questions students were more likely to answer and why. They found that students were more likely to answer those instructor questions that were authentic and exhibited uptake of students’ comments. Moreover, the students’ orientation to those features suggests that students actively choose to engage in – and construct – coherent instructional interactions that characterize conversation rather than recitation.