Online and Traditional Discussions of Equal Quality, Study Suggests
Asynchronous collaboration at a distance, such as that common in an online learning environment, can produce results of the same quality as traditional, synchronous, face-to-face collaboration. This is the result of a study published in the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. (H/T to the Teach Online blog).
The controls on the study look good to me. Additionally, the only negative comments made by the online participants involved the environment’s unfamiliarity. That problem is self-correcting, and (I would add) not limited to online collaboration: plenty of my first-year students are initially unfamiliar with the norms and practices of traditional classroom discussion.
The complete study is legible and worth a look, if only to satisfy yourself about its integrity and the details of the tabulated results.