Distraction, Domination, and Disconnection in Whole-Class Online Discussions Academic Article uri icon


  • Online courses continue to gain popularity at colleges and universities, with a primary tool for demonstrating critical thinking and interaction being the discussion forum. Instructors and students of online courses are faced with the dilemma of sifting through potentially hundreds of postings when all students are placed within a forum. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of critical thinking and interaction present during whole class discussion compared with smaller virtual learning communities based on the Newman, Webb, and Cochrane (1996) indicators. A content analysis of discussion threads revealed that critical thinking was present, although unique communication patterns did emerge.

published proceedings

  • Quarterly Review of Distance Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Dooley, K. E., & Wickersham, L. E.

complete list of authors

  • Dooley, Kim E||Wickersham, LE

publication date

  • January 2007