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A Child Welfare Course for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Students: Pedagogical and Technical Challenges

Online discussions are often used in distance education to engage students in dialogue about curricular topics. Limited research exists that examines student perceptions of online discussions in fully online classes. Limited research exists that examines student perceptions of online discussions in fully online classes. The major constructivist pedagogical tool used to deliver this human behavior course during each semester was the online discussion tool in the WebCT software package. Each week of the semester one or more asynchronous discussions were held, facilitated initially by the instructor or teaching assistant and then by student dyads. Data was collected through the use of an online survey. Students in both classes were invited to participate by personal e-mail from the instructor. Content analysis was used to discover patterns of participant responses. In the first open-ended question, respondents were asked to think about a face-to-face class discussion and how the discussion experience aided in the learning of assigned material.