Possible Setbacks (continued)
As research continues on this topic, scholars and teachers will want to discover the possible reasons behind this audience/discussion resistance. Already, my experience tells me it is simply a matter of exigence. For example, in research conducted by Vrasidas and McIsaac, some students expressed concerns about the large amount of time that was required of them in an online setting and felt that the online discussion was superfluous to what occurred in class (28). If students do not feel that their participation online is significant to their learning, they will put it at the bottom of their list. Instructors planning to use an online component in a freshmen composition course will need to communicate clearly with their students about the purpose of online discussions and make strong connections between in class time and online time.
Although most of the time my resident students who participated in the online component of my classroom participated more online and appreciated an opportunity to vocalize their opinions without saying a word in front of their peers, in each section of freshmen composition I taught, about 15 to 30% of the class (3 to 6 students) would not participate online. Whether they were intimidated by the technology or the divergence from the norm, these students never took advantage of the online aspect of class even with special instruction and extra time to complete assignments. However, when I compare this percentage to the percentage of students who do not complete daily assignments, the percentages are almost identical.