Dialogue attributes that inform depth and quality of participation in course discussion forums

Elaine Farrow, Johanna Moore, Dragan Gašević

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper describes work in progress to answer the question of how we can identify and model the depth and quality of student participation in class discussion forums using the content of the discussion forum messages. We look at two widely-studied frameworks for assessing critical discourse and cognitive engagement: the ICAP and Community of Inquiry (CoI) frameworks. Our goal is to discover where they agree and where they offer complementary perspectives on learning.

In this study, we train predictive classifiers for both frameworks on the same data set in order to discover which attributes are most predictive and how those correlate with the framework labels. We find that greater depth and quality of participation is associated with longer and more complex messages in both frameworks, and that the threaded reply structure matters more than temporal order. We find some important differences as well, particularly in the treatment of messages of affirmation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLAK '20: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781450377126
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020
EventThe 10th International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference - Frankfurt, Germany
Duration: 23 Mar 202027 Mar 2020
Conference number: 10


ConferenceThe 10th International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference
Abbreviated titleLAK20
Internet address


  • text analysis
  • discussion forum
  • participation
  • engagement
  • cognitive presence
  • Community of Inquiry
  • ICAP


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