How Asynchronous Discussion Boards Mediate Learning Literacy Methods Courses to Enrich Alternative-Licensed Teachers' Learning Experiences

Fall, 2010

Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Vol. 43, Iss. 1; (Fall 2010). p. 1-27.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study is to explore the alternative-licensed teachers' (ALTs) perceptions of how an asynchronous discussion board mediated learning literacy methods courses.
The research addresses the following research questions:
* In what ways will the ALTs use the asynchronous discussion board to mediate intertextual connections in their literacy methods courses?
* In what ways will the participants use the technology to facilitate exploration of alternative perspectives?
* What will be the participants' attitude to their peers' contributions to learning?


Forty-four ALTs from Southern California were enrolled in the two courses. There were 30 female and 14 male participants. In addition, there were 37 Hispanics, 6 Caucasians, and 1 biracial. The age of the participants ranged from 20 to 47. Fourteen participants were full-time teachers, and 12 were intern teachers. Also, 15 participants indicated they were substitute teachers and 3 were teacher assistants.
The participants were taught literacy teaching methods using the asynchronous discussion hoard as a tool of extending learning. Each participant responded to a survey and wrote a reflection to summarize his/her views of the role of the asynchronous discussion board in learning to teach literacy. 


The findings indicated that the technology has the potential to generate positive structure and support for learning. Furthermore, the technology also has the potential to shift learning from an isolated activity to social, collaborative work. The findings showed that the rubric used in the study set clear expectations for the participants. Also, the structure setup of discussion board interaction facilitated positive learning outcomes. These factors provided the participants opportunities to use the technology as a social, interactive space to adapt, refine, appropriate, and extend their own - and each other's - learning, skills, knowledge, and dispositions.

The author further prompted the participants to complement their responses with class discussions. The prompt encouraged the participants to adopt multiple voices and viewpoints that were different from theirs and made their own voices heard.


The author suggests that for change to be beneficial to ALTs and K-12 student learning, teacher education programs, politicians, and school districts, particularly in rural areas, need to recognize the shift in literacy practices and the ways students learn.
Furthermore, many teacher educators may need to redesign their syllabi to integrate more effective learning activities.

Recommendation for Implementation in K-12 Classrooms
In a border community such as the site of this study, policymakers, school districts, and school administrators need to provide funds for the necessary infrastructural facilities, such as the computer, computer labs, access to the Internet, and technical support for ALTs.

Updated: Mar. 13, 2011