A key guidance factor of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is the specification of a discussion task. Aspects of the discussion task may affect the quality of group discussion for higher-order learning. This experiment investigated the effects of two aspects of discussion task on asynchronous text discussion of an online higher-education course. Groups completed discussion assignments that varied in degree of task context and outcome specification. Content analysis was used to assess conceptual conflict and level of information processing indicated in the online discussions. Results indicate that conceptual conflict is associated with higher-order discussion, but differences in task context and product do not have large effects on the quantity or quality of online discussion.