Effects of discussion forums on student academic success within academic disciplines in online undergraduate courses
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Institutions of higher education continue to report rapid growth in online enrollments each year prompting quick response in designing and developing quality online courses to meet these needs and improve completion rates (Allen & Seaman, 2010). With the ever-increasing focus on accountability and continuous improvement in higher education, these growing online enrollments which prompt the need to rapidly design and develop online courses while improving completion rates should encourage institutions to take a closer look at the variables that might affect online student academic success. For online courses, individual course management system (CMS) tools are key variables which could affect online student academic success. CMSs are widely used in higher education for online delivery (Dringus & Ellis, 2005). The individual tools such as discussion forums found in a CMS prompt social interaction and communication, and encourage online students to engage with course content, other students, and the instructor. This causal-comparative study incorporated an analysis of variance (ANOVA) to compare the total minutes spent in the discussion forum CMS tools and the number of required discussion forums within academic disciplines to determine their effect on student academic success (final course grades).
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.