This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Post-Secondary Instructors’ Approaches to the Assessment of Online Discussions: Influential Factors, Obstacles, and Solutions to the Challenges




Bush, Kyle

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study examines the factors, challenges, and solutions to the challenges to assessing online discussions. Online learning continues to become more and more prevalent. Entire degrees are now being offered online. One perceived drawback to online learning is lack of interaction. Online discussions are utilized to provide interaction between students and students and instructors. The researcher-developed survey instrument was administered to post-secondary instructors via Qualtrics. The study consisted of 108 respondents from two universities, Auburn University and Arkansas Tech University. Participants were surveyed on their purposes for requiring online discussions, challenges that they face in assessing online discussions, and solutions they can provide that could make assessing online discussions an easier process. The factors and challenges in assessing online discussions were analyzed using multinomial logistic regressions to see if they predict how instructors assess online discussions. Analysis of the data revealed one statistically significant multinomial logistic regression, specifically, the degree to which instructors hold higher-order thinking to be a main purpose of why they require students to participate in online discussions, as a predictor of how instructors assess online discussions. However, other factors as well as challenges to assessing online discussions were not predictive of how instructors assess online discussions. Solutions were provided by instructors to make assessing online discussions an easier process. The results of the study provide insight into how online discussions are assessed, the factors and challenges involved, and how to make assessing online discussions an easier process.