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Abstract

Past studies indicate that students demonstrate different online interaction styles, which consist of the ways or habits students acquire knowledge from computer-mediated discussions (Sutton, 2001). Such interaction styles include the active interaction style (Beaudion, 2002), the vicarious interaction style (Sutton, 2001), and the mixed or balanced-interaction style. The purpose of this exploratory study was to further investigate whether students’ online interaction styles changed during a course utilizing asynchronous computer-mediated discussions; and if so how and why they changed. Results indicate that such changes did take place as 44% of participants adjusted to more active learning styles as the courses progressed. This study has implications for the design of online learning environments, instructor’s role in online courses, and educational tools to facilitate students in adapting to more active interaction styles in computer-mediated learning environments.

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