Open Access Dissertation
Classroom management; Internet in education; Computer-assisted instruction; Education; School discipline; School management and organization;
Many online classrooms today are designed based on learner-centered principles. Implicit with this design perspective is the goal to create and facilitate a virtual learning community in which students learn from and share with each other through discussion based computer conferencing. In the current literature, little has been shared on what happens to the online learning community when students behave in a manner deemed challenging, difficult, or disruptive. However, as in the face-to-face classroom, disruptive student behaviors do appear in the online classroom.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how disruptive student behaviors impact the online learning community and the facilitation and design methods online instructors use to engage disruptive students in constructive behaviors. Specifically, this study sought to answer the following research questions:
1. How is disruptive student behavior defined in the online learning community? 2. What impact does disruptive student behavior have in the online learning community? 3. What teaching strategies do online instructors implement to manage disruptive student behavior in the online learning community? 4. What modifications in the instructional design do online instructors implement to prevent disruptive student behaviors in the online learning community?
This qualitative study relied upon data collection, including survey data, face to face semi-structured interviews, and follow-up email communications. The analysis and interpretation of the data confirmed the presence of a number of disruptive student behaviors in online learning communities and a perception by instructors that disruptive student behaviors impact the online learning community. The importance of active participation of the instructor in the online learning community and use of communication, both public and private, were the two key factors successful in managing online disruptive behaviors. Design modifications to prevent disruptive student behaviors in online learning communities that emerged were: netiquette or communication policies, structuring discussions, model discussion examples, defined student discussion spaces, structuring group collaboration, grading policies and rubrics, and late policies.
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
1 PDF file (v, 162 pages)
©2011 Belle Doyle Cowden
Cowden, Belle Doyle, "Disrupting the discussion : the story of disruptive students in the online classroom" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 382.