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Fostering Interaction in an Online Introductory Nutrition Course

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Title:Fostering Interaction in an Online Introductory Nutrition Course
Authors:Banna, Jinan C.
Lin, Grace
Stewart, Maria
Fialkowski, Marie K.
Date Issued:2014
Publisher:International Conference on Education and e-Learning (EeL). Proceedings, Global Science and Technology Forum. 2014
Abstract:— Fostering interaction in the online classroom is an important consideration in ensuring that students actively create their own knowledge and reach a high level of achievement. This study focuses on fostering interaction through course features selected for this purpose in an online introductory nutrition course offered in a public institution of higher education in Hawai‘i, USA. Features included synchronous discussions and polls in scheduled sessions, and social media tools for sharing of information and resources. Qualitative student feedback was solicited in response to the new course features. Findings indicated that students who attended monthly synchronous sessions valued live interaction with peers and the instructor. Issues identified included technical difficulties during synchronous sessions, lack of participation on the part of fellow students during group discussion and inability to attend synchronous sessions due to scheduling conflicts. In addition, few students made use of the opportunity to interact via social media. While students indicated that there was value in the interactive components of the online introductory nutrition course, several areas in which improvement may be made remain. Future studies may explore potential solutions to the issues identified with new course features to further promote interaction in the online introductory nutrition course.
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