Online discussions: Improving education in CS?

Radu P. Mihail, Beth Rubin, Judy Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Asynchronous online discussions are considered the cornerstone of online education. Many instructors of face-to-face courses are "web-enabling" their classes to improve learning through critical inquiry using online discussions. In this exploratory study, we collected and analyzed online discussion data from two dissimilar computer science courses (one technical Graphics for Gaming (G4G) course and a writing intensive Science Fiction and Ethics (SF&E) course). Our findings suggest that, overall, making more posts, posting more questions and engaging in Devil's Advocacy have positive effects on learning, while making more informational posts, explaining to others and making longer posts do not. In the SF&E course, all students perceive that posting helped their learning, while in the G4G course students do not, but posting behavior differentiates those who perform well from those who perform poorly.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2014
Event45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2014 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Mar 5 2014Mar 8 2014


Conference45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA


  • Asynchronous discussions
  • Online discussions
  • Student blogs
  • Web-enabled courses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)


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