Increasing student interaction and the development of critical thinking in asynchronous threaded discussions

Fredricka Joyner


The context for this case study is an online, undergraduate, 300-level organization behavior course that explores the intersection of individuals and organization systems at three levels of aggregation: individual, team/group, and organization system. The case study begins with a learning activity designed to use an asynchronous threaded discussion format to elicit, organize and meaningfully share prior knowledge. The case study goes on to detail the initial review, redesign, assessment and results of an improvement cycle aimed at addressing the challenges of stimulating meaningful interaction and critical thinking in this online format. The resulting redesigned learning activity used a collective visual metaphor, based on prior experience, to fuel the threaded discussion process. The case study includes pre- and post-redesign examples and specific instructions for those interested in applying this approach.


prior knowledge; visual metaphor; word cloud; content analysis; online teaching and learning; learning activity; online message boards; undergraduate education

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