All posts by Dan LaSota

Dan's background is seasoned by physics and astronomy, public government, teaching, software development and adventure. He's putting his M.Ed. in Online Innovative Design to work building remote control science labs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and lots of other fun courses too!

Best Practices in Online Discussions


August 16th, 1p-2p

Watch the discussion online. (Link available by August 14). UPDATE: We are moving away from synchronous hangout type dialogs, to a podcast format. This will be the first episode of our new series.

Recorded Archive of Discussion.

Literature Review

Brewer, S., & Klein, J. D. (2006). Type of positive interdependence and affiliation motive in an asynchronous, collaborative learning environment. Educational Technology Research & Development, 54(4), 331-354. doi:10.1007/s11423-006-9603-3

Darabi, A., & Jin, L. (2013). Improving the quality of online discussion: The effects of strategies designed based on cognitive load theory principles. Distance Education, 21-36

Darabi, A., Liang, X., Suryavanshi, R., & Yurekli, H. (2013). Effectiveness of online discussion strategies: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Distance Education, 27(4), 228-241

Johnson, G. M. (2006). Online study groups: Reciprocal peer questioning versus mnemonic devices. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 35(1), 83-96.

Jung, I., Choi, S., Lim, C., & Leem, J. (2002). Effects of different types of interaction on learning achievement, satisfaction and participation in web-based instruction. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 39(2), 153-162. doi:10.1080 /1355800021012139

Ng, C. S. L., Cheung, W. S., & Hew, K. F. (2008). Solving ill-structured problems in asynchronous online discussions: Built-in scaffolds vs. No scaffolds. Interactive Learning Environments, 18(2), 115-134. doi:10.1080/10494820802337629

Sas, M., Bendixen, L. D., Crippen, K. J., & Saddler, S. (2017). Online collaborative misconception mapping strategy enhanced health science students’ discussion and knowledge of basic statistical concepts. Journal of College Science Teaching, 46(6), 88-99.

Topçu, A. (2008). ‘Intentional repetition’ and learning style: Increasing efficient and cohesive interaction in asynchronous online discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 901-919


Humor as Effective Practice in the Classroom



  • Anderson, D. G. (2011). Taking the “distance’ out of distance education: A humorous approach to online learning. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(1).
  • Wanzer, M. B., Frymier, A. B., Irwin, F., & Irwin, J. (2010). An explanation of the relationship between instructor humor and student learning: Instructional humor processing theory. , 59(1), 1-18. doi:10.1080/0363452090336723
  • Shatz, M. A., & Coil, S. R. (2008). Regional campus teaching ain’t a joke but humor can make it more effective. Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio, 14(Spring 2008), 105-118