Document Type


Publication Date



Discussion boards can provide a glimpse into the regular and substantive interaction required in online courses. Advances in technology and an increased interest in learning analytics now provides researchers with billions of data points about instructor and student interaction within a learning management system (LMS). This study used LMS data to explore the frequency of interaction between instructors and students in discussion boards in online courses at one institution. Overall, 415 courses were analyzed spanning two semesters. Results from the study found that the average number of posts by an instructor was 32.9. The average instructor interaction was 1.49 instructor posts per student. 23% of courses had no instructor posts. Student posts averaged 470 per course and the average posts per student was 19.9. Based on the discussion board activity, the most discussion interaction occurred during the first two weeks of the semester. Results also suggested that there is no relationship between student satisfaction and the number of total posts in a course. The paper concludes with implications for research and practice.

Copyright Statement

This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at