Swartzwelder, Murphy & Murphy

Volume 16, Issue 1, January 2019

The Impact of Text-Based and Video Discussions on Student Engagement and Interactivity in an Online Course

Kay Swartzwelder, Drexel University
Jackie Murphy, Drexel University
Glenn Murphy, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Learning in an online classroom can be optimized when teaching methods focus on student engagement with course content and student-student interactivity. Social learning is a challenge in any online learning environment, but it is realistic with the appropriate selection of discussion modalities. Text-based discussions have been traditionally used, but is this the most effective format to enhance learning outcomes? Video-based discussions have been utilized to supplement the traditional discussion, but the true impact of this newer format has not been explored. Online graduate students enrolled in a nursing ethics course were exposed to both discussion formats during their academic term and were subsequently surveyed on their perceptions of each modality in terms of engagement and interactivity. Students felt that the text-based discussions were more engaging and interactive than the video-based discussions, although the results could have been skewed based simply on a student preference for the familiar format. Keeping in mind the practical applicability of video-based discussions and the potential benefits to the students with this teaching method, it is in the best interest of student learning to continue using this modality moving forward. As online educators strive to optimize learning outcomes for students, it is imperative that social learning through engagement and interactivity is considered when implementing new teaching methods into the virtual learning environment.


engagement, interactivity, online courses, video-based discussions, text-based discussions, nursing

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