Fostering instructor-student argumentative interaction in online lecturing to large groups: a study amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

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Pablo Antonio Archila
Silvia Restrepo
Anne-Marie Truscott de Mejía
Roberto Rueda-Esteban
Natasha I. Bloch


The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the development and implementation of online education in higher education institutions around the globe. Online lecturing to large groups has been part of this acceleration. The problem is that synchronous face-to-face lectures and synchronous online lectures are widely criticized for reinforcing the hegemony of instructor-centered traditional approaches and rarely involving instructor-student and student-student argumentative interaction. This study aimed to provide evidence that online informal formative assessment (OIFA) can be used to provide undergraduates with explicit opportunities to participate in instructor-student argumentative interaction. An OIFA-based pedagogical strategy was implemented amidst the Covid-19 pandemic in the online lecturing sessions of a science course with 76 undergraduates (40 females and 36 males, 16–23 years old) in Colombia. It was found that OIFA can contribute to instructor-student argumentative interaction as well as to being able to better address undergraduate learning needs. Practical implications for university science education in the pandemic and post-pandemic eras are discussed.

Keywords: Covid-19, formative assessment, instructor-student argumentative interaction, online learning, university science education.

Palabras clave
Covid-19; formative assessment; instructor-student argumentative interaction; online learning; university science education,


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