This study examines whether online asynchronous discussion forums support student’s meaning-making about citizenship in a globalizing world. Citizenship is an increasingly contested identity for young people, yet they have few opportunities in traditional civic education to consider their own citizenship. Although online discussions are considered effective spaces for increasing dialogue and critical thinking between diverse students, there has been little research to understand how effective they are for helping students to construct new understandings of citizenship.
A content analysis approach was used to analyze and code 89 discussion board posts. The Interaction Analysis Model (IAM) coding scheme was used to describe and analyze the quality of knowledge construction that occurred across the posts focusing on different aspects of global citizenship.
The findings demonstrate that the discussion boards produced substantive talks about the meaning of citizenship that in some instances reached the level of new knowledge construction. The students considered different meanings for global citizenship and negotiated positions on key issues. However, the highest levels of knowledge construction were rarely reached.
A major implication is the need to organize and cue discussion boards to support knowledge construction in addition to fostering dialogue.