Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Matthew Seeger


This exploratory. qualitative and quantitative study exammes m-class discourse to assess the1r relationship to computer mediated communication (CMC). Two 16-week graduate-er.gineenng courses were observed usmg a codmg scheme to understand the rate and nature of 1n-class discourse. Student messages and quest1ons were posted to the class· online quest1on boards and analyzed for rate and content of online messages using a coding scheme. In addition to these quantitative measures. field notes and interview data was analyzed to identify key factors influencing the quantitative results and to examine potential factors within the classroom that might of influenced the online discourse. A survey was administered at the end of the semester to collect information regarding students perceptions of and expenence w1th CMC. Three pnmary conclusions are drawn from the student Interviews. observations and the survey responses. First. the mstructor"s teach1ng style during class later affected the students use of the question board. One Instructor was open. communicative and clearly had a good relationship with the students. The class question board reflected th1s pattern and had more quest1ons posted. The other class had fewer postmgs to the class question board. In th1s particular class the Instructors commun1cation was short and curt w1th the students. This commun1cat1on pattern was reflected online as well Second. t1me factors affected the rate of the onl1ne messages. Students ·.vere workmg full time and tak1ng classes dunng the evening. In some cases student"s days started at 7am at work and ended at 9pm 1n the even1ng for the classes. Students were busy and d1dn t have t1me to go online and post quest1ons. Many saved the1r questions for class t1me and the 1nstructor then. F1nally. the student mterviews revealed that the desire for human mteract1on or personal communication with the 1nstructor was valued over posting a question to the 1nstructor on the class question board. In class and online d1scourse 1s highlighted throughout the dissertation. Additionally. suggestions for online teachers and students as well as suggestions for future research are offered.

Included in

Communication Commons