This study is an initial attempt to explore the relationship between conditions, students' conceptions of and approaches to online argumentation. A total of 45 college students participated in the study. Twenty-one students participated in online argumentation activities with no cognitive tool (in the control condition), and 24 students undertook the same online argumentation tasks with the cognitive tool of question prompts (in the experimental condition). The results showed that in the both conditions, the students with fragmented conceptions tended to adopt surface approaches. Particularly, students in the experimental condition develop potentially deeper approaches, but the conditions with the question prompts probably had little influence on their conceptions of online argumentation.
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