Digital collaboration and learners’ cognitive development: What’s the link?

Graziella McCarron, Larisa Olesova

Session Information

Year: 2017 | Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm | Location: SCHOLARSHIP OF TEACHING & LEARNING (SoTL) LIGHTNING TALK & ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Johnson Center (Room D)



This session will share results from a 2016-2017 GMU study investigating students' cognitive skills development through participation in an asynchronous online course that utilizes discussions. Presenters will use the results from this study to discuss how to effectively utilize online discussions in the design of a course to increase student engagement and collaboration.


FULL ABSTRACT: What do online course discussions mean for student learning? How do we leverage students’ online collaboration to boost cognitive development? How can we, as faculty and instructional designers, improve the online learning experience, in general? This session aims to facilitate discussion of these important questions via results from a 2016-2017 GMU study aimed understanding students’ cognitive skills development when they participate in an asynchronous online course and, specifically, asynchronous online discussions.  Participants will journey with presenters as results from a 2016-2017 GMU research study aimed understanding the relationship between students’ cognitive skill development and participation in asynchronous online discussions (in INTS204-DL1 Leadership Theory and Practice -Fall 2016) are translated to practice. Participants will, using a collaborative learning approach, discuss these practical concepts and apply new discoveries to their own online course design in order to craft powerful digital learning community strategies. Participants will leave the presentation able to: 

• Articulate the potential linkages between online course collaborations and students’ cognitive development.

• Articulate best practices for building community in an online course environment.

• Articulate instructional design techniques aimed at boosting students’ digital collaborations in online and blended courses.

For more information about collaborative learning:


teaching online


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