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Factors affecting secondary school students’ participation in a distributed learning course Hollands, Anita

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to examine motivational factors influencing the participation of secondary school students enrolled in a grade 11 on-line learning course. The study was guided by two main questions: How frequently students used computer-mediated communication to participate in course discussions and what factors were involved in motivating students to participate actively and thoughtfully in the discussions? The computer-mediated conferencing component of the course was an important factor for students in their learning and understanding of course material. Students found it easier to participate in an on-line learning course as opposed to a face-to- face course for several reasons: anonymity, time-independence, and that it aided in their understanding of the course material. Students found the aspect of time-independence made the course less stressful then their regular face-to-face course. However, time-independence made self-discipline a key factor that influenced students' participation. Students with poor self-discipline found it more difficult to participate than students with good self-discipline. There was very low teacher presence in the computer-mediated discussions, which may also have been a limiting factor in students' participation.

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