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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

The case study has long been a staple in information system education, and as information system education adopts asynchronous distance education formats, the case study discussion increasingly takes place on-line. While there has been speculation about how the role of the teacher might change in asynchronous learning networks, there has been little empirical research that explicitly and rigorously investigates similarities and differences between teacher roles in online and face-to-face activities. This paper examines the differences in the role of an instructor while conducting identical case study discussions in both contexts. Transcripts from eight case study discussions, 4 face-to-face and 4 online, were analyzed using a content analytic framework derived primarily from the previous work of Anderson, Archer, Garrison and Rourke. These authors developed a model that studies cognitive, social, and teaching processes in ALN discussions. The scheme also considers characteristics of the discourse process developed by Aviv. The findings provide evidence that even though higher levels of certain cognitive processes are observed online, the instructor has less control of the "choreography" of the discussion in this mode. We consider the implications of these findings, and suggest strategies for producing better results in online case study discussions.

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