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Abstract

Online deliberations in social studies classrooms are increasingly feasible as more schools incorporate online learning environments into their programs. The present study investigates student participation in online deliberations with particular attention to (1) the differences between opinion expression and participation in anonymous versus named conditions, (2) whether the magnitude of any such differences varies by gender, (3) whether males and females express a preference for deliberation in named or anonymous online environments, and (4) the impact of named and anonymous environments on developing students’ deliberative skills. When opinion expression and participation results are analyzed by gender, we find that differences between females and males that manifest in named conditions disappear when discussing anonymously. We find that female students are significantly more likely to prefer discussing in anonymous environments. Finally, we find that students deliberating anonymously express more opinions in a subsequent deliberation than those in the named condition.

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