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Possible Setbacks

These four phenomena are present in threaded discussion because students develop a sense of audience in their writing when feedback is more immediate and their writing functions as real communication. Yet, with the positive development of audience recognitions in some threaded discussions, there are also phenomena that occur in online discussions that indicate students are unaware of an audience or even resisting the concept of audience. In these situations, students sometimes rush to consensus in order to finish the assigned discussion and move on to other tasks. Rather than build on what has been said before, students simply state that they are in agreement with all previous posts (thereby ignoring the main questions of these posts) and sign off.

Hewett made the observation that the success of posts made in online discussions depends upon other students' willingness to acknowledge and respond to the post (283). When a post is ignored, it is like the end of the chain or a link unto itself. It "may lack the interactive, generative spark common to oral talků" (232). When students involved in discussion feel ignored, a certain amount of frustration follows. Vrasidas and McIsaac affirm that students who do not receive responses to their posts become discouraged and may even stop posting messages (33).

next >>works cited

Learning to Communicate
The Importance of Group Development
Learning Rhetoric Online
Possible Setbacks
Changing the Face of Online Education