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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

THREADED DISCUSSION OPTIONS BEYOND THE TEXT FOR COLLEGE ALGEBRA COURSES

Abstract

Typical topics for threaded discussions in college algebra courses include: Define a mathematical term. Include a real-world application of it. Demonstrate a problem-solving process in a homework assignment. Write a compare/contrast essay (e.g., three methods of graphing). Prove-or-disprove a theorem (e.g., derive the quadratic formula). The above topics address several categories in Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Skills. However, students seldom explored beyond the drill-and-kill homework problems. Thus, they rarely surpassed the Application level of learning in the threaded discussions. Since mathematics is approachable outside the Discussion textbox, a challenge was issued to the students. Instead of tediously keying mathematical symbols in the threaded discussions, for five sessions, the students could create and submit a homework-related video, artwork, science exhibit, etc. The students’ participation rate rose in the weekly discussions. They demonstrated mathematical principles by crocheting, producing videos, making scientific modelling, etc. In conclusion, students’ cognitive skills in the threaded discussions were enhanced beyond the text level by incorporating multiple media options.

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