Fostering mathematical discourse in an online college algebra class
Bennekin, Kimberly Nicole Rice
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Students are attracted to the convenience and the autonomy of taking online classes, and, as a result, the demand for online classes is increasing at a much higher rate than traditional face-to-face classes. Researchers in mathematics education and online education agree that enhancing mathematical discourse and online interactions will improve knowledge construction, respectively. In this case study, I created a discussion board activity, with the intention of fostering more meaningful mathematical discourse in an online college algebra course. I completed the study in three stages. In the exploration stage, I collected data on students’ affective responses to mathematics and their current online course materials. In the development stage, I used this information to create a purposefully designed discussion activity. In the experimental stage, I administered the activity then analyzed the students’ discussion board postings. The week the purposefully designed activity was given, more meaningful mathematical discourse took place. This study provided some initial evidence that mathematical discourse can be fostered and enhanced in an online environment.