Saturday, May 4, 2013

SMUMN - DRAFT Abstract: Online Discussion in a Middle School Social Studies Classroom

DRAFT - Cross-Post for St. Mary's University Master's Program:

The Impact of Online Discussion in a Middle School Social Studies Classroom

Ryan Canton
St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West, Albertville, MN

The purpose of this action research was to investigate the impact of online discussion in a middle school social studies classroom. In order to determine the effects of the discussion students were asked to respond to five discussion prompts using the online learning management system, Schoology. In addition to their response to the five prompts, they were to respond to at least two other classmate's responses for each prompt. Students were provided approximately 15 minutes in class to compose their responses. If students did not complete the assigned posts in that time they were to complete them on their own time outside of school.

The data collection process involved an analysis of the completion rates of student responses. Student responses were also analyzed for depth of thought and quality of the initial response to each prompt. Upon the completion of of the research students also completed a survey about the use of online discussion as an alternative to face to face discussion. Lastly, anecdotal evidence was collected to gain a more complete view of the impact of online discussion.

A conclusion will go here when the data collection and analysis is complete.


  1. Ryan

    This sounds like a very interesting study! Something I'd consider implementing into my classroom next year, especially if your conclusions prove positive. I teach junior high social studies in Shakopee, and it feels like the district is moving towards incorporating more technology in the future. This would be a great tool to use to promote expanded technology.

    Have you experienced any negative consequences using the online discussions (I.e. bullying, inappropriate comments, etc.)?

    Nick (Minneapolis Blended-2)

  2. Hey Nick - thanks for the feedback...I'll be posting (eventually) the final results, but it was definitely a positive experience. In terms of inappropriate use, I haven't come across any. I made it abundantly clear (from the early days of the year) that what they do online is an extension of the classroom, and that for the most part I (and the district) have access to what they do/say online - be it in their Google Apps accounts or with Schoology.

    The students are well aware of the consequences, of cyber-bullying, etc...and I haven't come across it with any of these school related settings. However, I'm not naive, and I'm sure that cyber-bullying does occur - but it hasn't be in a school setting. I hope that helps!