Fostering Peer and Student/Faculty Rapport in Online Educational Environments.
Research Team: Bhawan Mann, Tanisha Bali, and Shayna A. Minosky.
The goal of this project is to identify the quantity and quality of interactions that occur between student peers and between students and faculty in an online learning environment, and to identify how the quality of these interactions can be fostered or improved.
In the first study, we qualitatively explored, using student focus groups, student perceptions of the type, frequency, importance and quality of their online interactions among their peers and with their instructors, with a secondary goal of identifying any important strategies to consider as being important for the formation of rapport that are not currently discussed in the literature. A total of 30 students participated in this study. Data were analyzed using a conventional content analysis and resulted in two overarching themes: (1) intrapersonal motivation and engagement and (2) interpersonal relationships and communication. Each theme consisted of multiple subthemes
In the second study, we will use an online survey, with both quantitative and qualitative items, to gather a larger and more diverse sample of participants and query them again on their perceptions of the type, frequency, importance and quality of their online interactions among their peers and with their instructors. Data collection for this study has been completed and is currently being prepared for analysis.
Student Perceptions of the Use and Effectiveness of Engagement Strategies in the Online Learning Environment.
Research Team: Tanisha Bali, Bhawan Mann, & Shayna A. Minosky
Background: Challenges in student engagement have been identified as a significant barrier in online learning. The purpose of this study was to explore how often, and how effectively, instructors used a variety of engagement strategies in their online classrooms.
Methods: A total of 218 undergraduate students (86% female) took part in an online survey consisting of 33 engagement strategies in which participants rated how often the strategy was used and how effective they found it.
Results: Descriptive analyses have demonstrated that students most frequently used strategies centered on structure (i.e., grading rubrics, course orientations, and instructor/peer discussion forums that enable interactions). Students reported that the most effective strategies were those that focused on clarity (i.e., posting of due dates, grading rubrics, and regular emails from the instructor). Interestingly, peer-to-peer connection strategies received the lowest ratings, both in terms of how often they were used and how effective students found them.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that students consider clarity to be the most effective method for raising engagement. Instructor relations appear to be more beneficial than peer relations.
Impact: This study identified strategies that are most effective for fostering engagement and rapport
A manuscript is currently being prepared for submission
Student Perceptions of Peer and Faculty Rapport in the Online Classroom: A Qualitative Study.
Research Team: Bhawan Mann, Tanisha Bali, and Shayna A. Minosky
The online learning environment (OLE) is advantageous in its flexibility, but it can also contribute to feelings of loneliness due to the lack of interpersonal connections. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore students’ experiences of the OLE, with a focus on student-peer and student-instructor interactions. A total of 30 undergraduate students (67% female) were recruited to attend in-person focus groups/interviews querying their online learning experiences and perceptions of the social aspects of the OLE. We analyzed the data using a conventional content analysis approach which resulted in the development of two overarching themes: (1) intrapersonal motivation and engagement and (2) interpersonal relationships and communication. Multiple subthemes were identified within these two themes. Findings indicate that there is a need for improvement in the OLE, specifically in regards to increasing student engagement and motivation, alongside fostering greater opportunities for interpersonal interactions and support. Future research regarding effective engagement strategies can be beneficial to help instructors increase student motivation and learning.
A manuscript is currently being prepared for submission.
Comparing Video Camera, Microphone and Chat Box Use on Social Presence and Engagement in an Online Group Activity
Research Team: Shayna A. Minosky, Nachwa El Aini, Brandon J. Justus, and Tanisha Bali
With the rapidly expanding availability of online courses, concerns have been raised about student engagement and connection within the online environment. Using an experimental design, we examined the effects of video camera, microphone, and chat box communication mediums on students’ experiences of social presence, peer rapport, motivation, satisfaction, and anxiety. A total of 133 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to a video, audio, or chat box condition and asked to complete an online interactive group task and a post-task survey. One-ways ANOVAs indicated that participants in the chat box condition reported lower levels of social presence, peer rapport, motivation and satisfaction compared to both the video and audio conditions, with no differences between the video and audio conditions. Those in the video condition reported higher anxiety levels than those in the chat box condition. We recommend that students participate in their online classes using video cameras and/or microphones to increase engagement and interpersonal connections with peers.
This project has been submitted for publication.
The impact of instructor rapport on the learning styles of students with ADHD symptomatology
Research Team: Tanisha Bali & Shayna Minosky
This study seeks to examine the effect of instructor rapport on learning styles in students with ADHD symptomatology (carelessness, disorganized and inattentiveness), and to test if positive rapport increases the likelihood of deep learning. Data collection is currently ongoing for this study.
Exploring Student and Instructor Views on the use of Video Cameras in the Online Classroom
Research Team: Yasmin Hussein and Shayna Minosky
This study seeks to examine student and instructor preferences and reasons for using video cameras in online synchronous classrooms. Student data collection has been completed. Instructor data collection is still ongoing.
Comparing Virtual Communication Method Use in an Online Group Task
Research Team: Nachwa El Aini and Shayna Minosky
This study seeks to examine the impact of using a video camera, microphone, and chat space on students’ experiences of social presence, engagement, attention and peer rapport. Data collection is currently ongoing for this study.