Technologies that assist in online group work: A comparison of synchronous and asynchronous computer mediated communication technologies on students' learning and community


While the benefits of online group work completed using asynchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) technology is documented, researchers have identified a number of challenges that result in ineffective and unsuccessful online group work. Fewer channels of communication and lack of immediacy when compared to face-to-face group work are a few of the noted limitations. Thus, research is needed to improve the online group work experience. As CMC technology has been identified as a critical element in effective online education, this study examines if the type of CMC technology used to complete online group projects influences online graduate students' course points and community of inquiry (i.e. social presence, cognitive presence, and teacher presence). A casual comparative research design and a one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used. Results yielded a significant difference in three of the dependent variables based on the type of technology used for online group work. Students who used synchronous technologies had higher community of inquiry than students who used asynchronous technologies. There was no significant difference in course points between the two groups.

Publication Title

Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

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