This exploratory study investigated an online office hour and a face-to-face recitation for similarities and differences. The online office hour and face-to-face recitation were a part of general chemistry courses taught at different universities. The courses covered the same material at the same level. The results of the investigation revealed that in the online environment students must articulate their ideas clearly to convey them in a text-only medium. The written text seemed to help the instructor to identify misinterpretations made by the students. The instructor-dominated hierarchy between instructor and student is present in both environments. When comparing the percentage of total student and instructor events (the sum of questions and statements) in the online environment, students’ events were significantly greater than instructor’s events. This finding is an indication that the online environment shows promise for improving student participation.

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