Improving Synchrony in Small Group Asynchronous Online Discussions

Samuli Laato, Mari Murtonen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Online courses often select asynchronous tools for teamwork as it allows temporal freedom for students who might come from different time zones or have busy schedules. These solutions work better with larger groups, where due to the quantity of participants, it is easier to get replies faster. In this study, we investigate challenges that arise in asynchronous discussions with small group (4–5 participants). Empirical data was collected from the UNIPS pedagogical employee training online course Becoming a Teacher and its teamwork period, where Google Docs was used as a discussion platform by 42 students. We observed that (1) discussion activity peaked around deadlines (2) students often came online in vain as their team members had not replied yet and (3) when students were online simultaneously, they were not able to take advantage of this by engaging in synchronous communication. As solutions, we propose improving the synchrony of the communication via more structured instructions and increasing the affordances of the communication tools.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrends and Innovations in Information Systems and Technologies - Volume 3, , WorldCIST 2020
EditorsÁlvaro Rocha, Hojjat Adeli, Luís Paulo Reis, Sandra Costanzo, Irena Orovic, Fernando Moreira
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event8th World Conference on Information Systems and Technologies, WorldCIST 2020 - Budva, Montenegro
Duration: 7 Apr 202010 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
Volume1161 AISC
ISSN (Print)2194-5357
ISSN (Electronic)2194-5365


Conference8th World Conference on Information Systems and Technologies, WorldCIST 2020


  • Asynchronous discussions
  • Communication tools
  • Google Docs
  • Online courses

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving Synchrony in Small Group Asynchronous Online Discussions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this