For Analysis of Student Perceptions of Peer Assessment

In analyzing students’ perceptions of peer assessment, different points were assigned to different students based on their description of the usefulness of peer assessment. If a student indicated that peer assessment is very helpful to his/her learning, four points would be assigned to his/her comments. Other points were assigned as follows: 3 points to “useful,” 2 points to “kind of useful,” 1 to “not useful,” and 0 to “no indication of useful or not”.

For Analysis of Students ’ Community Knowledge

For analyzing students’ discussions related to learning, the discourse types developed by Lee et al. (2006) were adopted. These discourse types were developed to capture the characteristics of knowledge building inquiry and explanation, and to examine the changes or advancement of community knowledge over time in a knowledge building environment (Lee et al. 2006). These four patterns also explained and captured the unproductive and productive social dynamics that lead to the characteristics of the four patterns (See Table 6.2). Knowledge building processes in MOOCs share the same characteristics with knowledge building environments, such as collective cognitive responsibility, progressive problem-solving, knowledge advancement, and diverse ideas and expertise.

Table 6.2 Four types of discussion threads

Discourse patterns



Information accumulation or Fragmented discourse

Information accumulation or Fragmented discourse was characterized by little discussion, short exchanges, or isolated notes. This type of discourse consisted of simple or factual questions, or questions that do not capture community interest

Level 1

Information sharing

Information Sharing was characterized by short and horizontal question-and-answer discussions, focusing on sharing of factual information, prior understanding, or relevant information. Various questions may be asked, but they require factual answers rather than explanations. Discussions were shallow and short, fraught with unelaborated facts, disjointed personal opinions, and information copied from somewhere. Generally, there is not a clear problem to tackle and not much effort to move the inquiry to deeper level

Level 2


Explanation discourse is characterized by explanation development through problem-solving, usually followed with ideas, explanations, and follow-up questions. In this type of discourse, students also generated multiple and diverse ideas and alternative explanations apart from explanation-seeking questions. It is a productive form of discourse. In the process of problem-solving, learners examined the validity of explanations or ideas, asked follow-up questions to deepen their understanding, made incremental contribution to their existing explanations, and advanced their understanding

Level 3

Knowledge building

Knowledge building was characterized by cyclical explanations, emergent inquiry, and knowledge advancement process. It captured all the characteristic acts of the ‘Explanation’ type; but it also involved a progressive and emergent process of knowledge improvement, consisted of synthesis, rise-above, and progressive problem-solving. It was much more sustained than explanation type discourse. In the process, students move towards yet a higher-level of understanding and knowledge construction

Level 4

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