Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Jiangmei Yuan

Committee Co-Chair

Suzanne Bell

Committee Member

Suzanne Bell

Committee Member

Ugur Kale


Lack of engagement in asynchronous online discussion is a common issue due to insufficient participation, disinterest in discussion, superficial discussion, and the influence of peer behaviors. The purpose of this study was to enhance student engagement in asynchronous online discussion by using student-led discussion and peer assessment. A mixed methods design was utilized in this study to offset quantitative and qualitative research weaknesses and to draw on the strengths of both (Plano Clark & Creswell, 2008). The control group participated in the discussion managed by the instructor, who posted weekly discussion questions to a class discussion board and facilitated the discussion. The experimental group worked in smaller discussion groups, led by a different student each week who posed a discussion question, facilitated the group discussion, and conducted a peer review. Interviews and discussion post analysis showed that students were behaviorally engaged and the way in which they demonstrated cognitive and emotional engagement varied. Survey results indicated that there was no statistically significant difference in the control group and experimental groups’ cognitive and emotional engagement, and academic performance. Students liked the student-led format, however, they preferred participating rather than leading. Directions for future research on student engagement in online discussion were identified.