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O'Reilly, M & Newton, D 2001, 'Why interact online if it's not assessed?, Academic Exchange Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 70-76.

Published version reproduced in ePublications@scu with the kind permission of the publisher.

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This paper presents findings from a research project in a university social science course. It explores reasons for the emergence of informal peer-to-peer online learning interactivity. Given that the literature on assessment in higher education higher education indicates that learning is driven by assessment, what motivates students to interact online if such activity is not assessed? Data obtained from social science students at Southern Cross University, Australia, over two semesters has shown us that learners' intrinsic motivation can lead to experience of a shared online environment for critical discussion, knowledge building and the establishment of supportive social communities. It emerged from our research that students valued online discussion whether it was assessed or not.

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