2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Comprehensive Assessment of Online Discussion Board Participation in Undergraduate Chemistry Courses: The relationship between student’s participation and achievement

Michael Vannatta - Chemistry

Analysis of online discussion board use in multiple undergraduate chemistry courses is presented. Utilizing the University of Washington’s Catalyst webtool, “GoPost”, comprehensive and accurate discussion board statistics were obtained for each student in each class.

The Pearson statistical test was implemented and demonstrated significant positive correlation between student’s posting/viewing of the discussion board and their final course GPA. That is, students who achieved higher course grades were also more likely to “post on” as well as “view” the board. Three courses in the Department of Chemistry’s curriculum were analyzed: CHEM 162, CHEM 238, and CHEM 452. The positive correlation was significant to the 0.001 level for the 162 class in contrast to a 0.05 level for the 452 level course indicating a possible greater benefit to introductory students.

Over the past two decades, achievement goal theory has emerged as one of the most prominent theories of achievement motivation. In light of this study, student’s achieving higher grades may be forming mastery goal approaches while students with lower grades remained performance focused. Psychological research has demonstrated significant advantage to forming mastery goal approaches. Therefore, low achieving students should be encouraged or required to extensively participate in online discussion boards with the hope that some may progress from performance to mastery goal approaches.



Index of Symposium Presenters