Fostering Mathematical Discourse in Online Asynchronous Discussions: An Analysis of Instructor Interventions
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Simonsen, L. & Banfield, J. (2006). Fostering Mathematical Discourse in Online Asynchronous Discussions: An Analysis of Instructor Interventions. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 25(1), 41-75. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/5481.
Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Volume 25, Issue 1, January 2006
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) Chesapeake, VA
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The purpose of this paper is to describe a typology of instructor discourse interventions to enhance mathematical discourse in online asynchronous discussions in a statistics for teachers' course. A completely asynchronous model of distance delivery was used for the statistics for teachers' course. Emphasis was given to fostering mathematical discourse in that the students in the course were encouraged state their ideas, elaborate on their thinking and compare their ideas with previously shared ideas. Using the constant comparative methodology for developing theory, the analysis of asynchronous discussions revealed five recurring categories of response with respect to instructor intervention: (a) resolve, (b) validate, (c) redirect, (d) expand, and (e) withhold. With respect to the identified typology, the authors recommend that the default action on the part of the instructor be to withhold, using one of the other interventions only if necessary. Withholding encourages the students to lead and become active participants in the discussion, thus enhancing mathematical discourse. Implications of the findings and recommendations for future research are also given in the paper.
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