purpose of this study was to observe “online listening behaviors” as a distinct
facet of the online classroom, separate from generative behaviors like forum
posting. The research addresses the need to better understand how students work
with the writing of others.

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Research Problem and Questions

address the problem of understanding how students both create and receive
online course content the researchers posed the two following questions:

What patterns of
listening behaviors do learners engage in as they interact with existing
comments in asynchronous online discussions? 

How do these
listening behaviors appear when enacted in an actual discussion over time? (Wise,
et al., p. 327)


undergraduate students, less one outlier, from a business course taught in a
blended format were studied.  The model
of their online course work was a one-on, one-off bi-weekly discussion; weeks
from the middle of the term were selected to best ensure consistency.  Based on click stream data generated by
timestamps to determine usage patterns, students were grouped using cluster
analysis of discussion group participation. 

addition to quantitative click stream data analysis, qualitative case studies
were done on students who most exemplified the characteristics of their cluster
groupings. These case studies allowed researchers to examine in greater depth
the character and behaviors of each cluster.


et al. found three distinct student clusters:
(1) “Superficial Listeners, Intermittent Talkers”; that is students who viewed roughly
two-thirds of the available conversation threads, posted less than twice per
topic, and minimally reviewed their own posts, all of this in the shortest time
spans (Wise, et al., p. 332); (2) “Concentrated Listeners, Integrated Talkers”;
these students spent more time in the online classroom per session, read about
half of the available postings, and spent more time reading each post (Wise, et
al., p. 332), and finally, (3) “Broad Listeners, Reflective Talkers”; this
group of students logged in twice as often as their peers, were the most
talkative, posting three times in each discussion, and reviewed their own posts
ten times per discussion (Wise, et al., p. 334).

groups confirm prior cited research from del Valle and Duffy but also shed
light on the concept of online listening as being more than “lurking”
illuminating the result that these “listening behaviors” account for much of time
students spend in online discussions.

Implications discussed by the authors

major outcome of this study is the recognition of “online listening” as a
valuable part of the online learning experience.  As stated at the beginning of the article,
online participation is more than just posting. 
By observing the listening behaviors of online students, educators can
provide more tailored feedback that will continue to further meaningful
discussion and address the superficiality of online classroom conversation.


study does a lot to highlight the reality of online course participation.  Where previous research looked pejoratively
at non-posting participation, Wise and her colleagues make the point that online
“listening” not only makes up the better part of students’ time spent in the
online classroom but is also quite valuable.  

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