Encouraging equitable online participation through curriculum articulation

Ken Masters*, Gudrun Oberprieler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Student participation is a central issue in debates around online education. In most instances, course convenors wish to increase the amount of participation, while ensuring that the quality is of an acceptable standard. They also wish to ensure that their students have adequate access to the technology, and that there is no undue dominance by any groups of students. In order to achieve the desired degree and balance of participation, various strategies are pursued - most of these focus on the awarding or denial of marks. In this exercise, first year Health Sciences students were introduced to online discussions as part of an Information Technology/Information Literacy (IT/IL) stream in their curriculum. Most importantly, the nature of the participation was to be guided purely by the philosophy and content of the main Health Sciences curriculum, with no overt reward or punishment system for participation in the online discussions. An analysis of the number of postings and the spread of postings shows an acceptable level of equitable participation across the student body. The main conclusion is that effective participation in online discussions is possible by curriculum articulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Cooperative/collaborative learning
  • Learning communities
  • Pedagogical issues
  • Teaching/learning strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education


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