Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mayall, Hayley J.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment


Chemistry--Study and teaching (Higher); Critical thinking--Study and teaching (Higher); Education; Higher--Computer-assisted instruction; Group work in education


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine collaboration and student's critical thinking and cognitive achievement within online chemistry courses. This quantitative study focused on the apparent lack of research relating collaboration and critical thinking in online science courses. Collaboration was determined using the small group collaboration model coding scheme, which examined student postings in asynchronous discussion forums for quantity, equality, and shareness. Critical thinking was measured using the chemistry concept reasoning test, the online self-diagnostic test, and also asynchronous student homework discussion postings that were coded using the community of inquiry cognitive presence indicators. Finally cognitive achievement was determined using quiz scores and the student's final grade. Even though no significant findings were revealed in this exploratory quasi-experimental study, this research did add to the educational technology knowledge base since very few studies have investigated the chemistry discipline in an online environment. Continued research in this area is vital to understanding how critical thinking progresses, how it can be assessed, and what factors in the classroom, be it virtual or face-to-face, have the greatest effect on critical thinking.


Advisors: Hayley Mayall.||Committee members: Ying Xie; Cindy York.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


xiii, 234 pages




Northern Illinois University

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