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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 1, No. 2 (2005) open journal systems 

Experiences with international online discussions: Participation patterns of Botswana and American students in an Adult Education and Development course at the University of Botswana

Daniela Giannini-Gachago, University of Botswana
Geoffrey Seleka, University of Botswana

Essential parts of a blended learning environment are online communication tools. An online discussion forum is an asynchronous online communication tool, allowing remote students to discuss topics or course contents using electronic media. This paper will determine variables that influence the utilization and perception of online discussions forums in developing environments. Several studies have been conducted in developed environments but very few studies can be found in developing environments. This study wants to apply criteria found in developed environments to developing environments to define whether these criteria fit or need adoption to be useful for implementation. Two different blended learning courses will be analyzed that have been conducted at the University of Botswana in the second Semester of the Academic Year 2003/2004. These two courses have been selected because of their distinctive differences in student population, maturity level of students, course content and the way the online discussion were integrated into the course structure. Non-probability sampling technique called judgment or purposive sampling will be used. The sample will be composed of 45 students. The study will take the equivalent of 2 months. The period will include the introduction of the research study, literature review, research design, source and collection of data, and finally analysis and presentation of data. This study uses both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The following data procedures will be used: online questionnaire on experiences gained throughout the course for students, focus group discussions with selected students and activity level of students as collected by the eLearning platform used.

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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556