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Examining the qualities of liked notes versus non-liked notes in a collaborative online learning environment

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Abstract

This study explores students’ use of a “Like” button feature on community discussion boards in three graduate-level distance education courses. Three analyses were conducted. First, students were surveyed about their use of the “Like” feature. Second, the contents of Liked and non-Liked notes were rated on a cognitive complexity scale. Third, a quantitative analysis of note metrics was conducted. The findings suggest that students highly value receiving Likes, viewing them as indicators of peer support. Thus it is proposed that “Liking” served to enhance a sense of social cohesion. At the same time, liked notes appear to be more complex than non-liked notes as indicated by quantitative comparisons and a first round of qualitative analysis.