Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) – Volume 1, Full Papers



First Page



This design-based research study investigated instructional scaffolding for knowledge building discourse among participants (n=17, n=20) in two online graduate courses. In particular, designs of software-based scaffolding as found in web-based Knowledge Forum's scaffold support feature were refined. Analyses of the student discourse data suggests that Knowledge Forum's scaffold supports offer a promising avenue for future design innovations to encourage knowledge building discourse. Results show that students increasingly used the scaffolds to focus their reading and writing of notes over iterations of the study. The proportion of scaffolds for knowledge building discourse increased during each iteration with a corresponding decrease in the proportion of scaffolds for expressing an opinion in the second iteration. Finally, notes with scaffolds contained significantly more words than notes without scaffolds, suggesting that scaffolds promoted more student reflectivity. Implications for formative assessment of student learning and knowledge building are discussed.

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