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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Searching for student success: Implementing immediacy in online courses
by Jennings, Amy B., Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2013, 145; 3571831
Abstract (Summary)

Growing demand for higher education has contributed to the popularity of online education. While online courses can be effective in terms of student learning and success, and there are many potential benefits, there are also still areas that can be improved. There is evidence that students can experience online courses as impersonal and lacking interaction. They can feel isolated, less satisfied, less successful, and are more likely to withdraw. Thus, one of the challenges facing online education is to find ways to increase connection and interaction between students and faculty.

One means for addressing the sense of isolation students might feel in online courses might be instructor immediacy. While instructor immediacy in traditional classes has been shown to motivate students, create a sense of connection, and support their learning and success, it is not known whether or how immediacy can help students in a fully online course.

The purpose of this quantitative quasi-experimental intervention study was to examine the effectiveness of faculty immediacy on undergraduate student engagement and success in an online course. Students in an upper division psychology course were randomly assigned to either a redesigned high immediacy section or a 'regular' section. The study's hypothesized framework suggested that instructor immediacy would enhance student engagement, and thereby influence student success.

A survey measured immediacy and student engagement; success was measured by total points earned. The sample included 215 students enrolled in the course in the fall 2012 semester. Independent samples t-tests, correlations, multiple regression, and repeated measures ANOVA were the statistical tests used.

The findings revealed no significant differences between the high immediacy (intervention section) and low immediacy (regular nonintervention group) sections of the course. Immediacy and engagement were highly correlated. Engagement was a significant predictor of student success. Age, units completed, and gender were also significant predictors of student success in this study. These results provide insight into the relationship between immediacy and engagement. Implications and recommendations based on the findings of this study are given. Further studies are recommended to further study the relationship between immediacy and engagement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Haviland, Don
Commitee: Maxfield, Lisa M., Murray, John P.
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Instructional Design, Educational leadership, Educational psychology, Educational technology
Keywords: Engagement, Immediacy, Isolation, Online, Student success
Publication Number: 3571831
ISBN: 978-1-303-28621-6
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