Self-regulation of strategies and motivation to enhance interaction and social presence in computer-mediated communication
J. Michael Blocher, Arizona State University, United States
Arizona State University . Awarded
Distance education is fast adopting newly developed technologies such as interactive CD-ROM and the Internet to help in delivery of course material. These newly developed technologies may have a profound impact on traditional instructional delivery as well. Computer mediated communication (CMC) has been used as a method of increasing student/teacher and student/student interaction as well as way to amplify the social presence of learners within this highly independent learning environment. Further, CMC is used to enhance communication within traditional courses as well. In addition, studies have suggested that gender may play an important role in participant engagement of CMC, as men and women utilize CMC differently.
In this study the researcher examined participants' interaction and engagement in CMC with regard to gender and the theoretical constructs of self-regulated learning--motivation, cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Instruments were selected to provide information on behavior, motivation, and control of cognitive strategies of 169 college students and their engagement in CMC. These participants were enrolled in a traditional lecture-hall course that utilized CMC for class communication. Because the class held weekly face-to-face meetings, students were not limited to CMC for their interaction with their peers or the instructor. Therefore CMC engagement that went beyond course assignments was voluntary. For this study, CMC was defined as the electronic messaging systems of e-mail, listserv e-mail distribution, and bulletin boards. The instruments were administered at the beginning and end of the semester to provide an understanding of how motivation, strategies, involvement, and feelings of social presence changed with the use of CMC. In addition, participants shared elaborative remarks, and volunteers were interviewed to provide qualitative data that furnished a greater understanding of the learners' experience and engagement in CMC by confirming and explaining the quantitative data.
The results showed that there was a significant difference between male and female engagement. Although both men and women came to the course with equal prior experience and task comfort levels, women displayed less engagement in CMC. Qualitative data analysis supported the quantitative analysis and suggested that engagement of the women was significantly lower because of their feelings that CMC was "less personal" than face-to-face communication. In addition, during the semester, strategies and attitudes of both men and women changed in relation to task value, task anxiety, self-efficacy, as well as seeking help and peer collaboration.
This study confirms previous findings that suggest that there are differences in communication methods and preferences of men and women. Furthermore, it provides insights that may well prove beneficial as the number of distance learners increases to help educators understand how learners interact and develop their own social learning arenas within CMC.
Blocher, J.M. Self-regulation of strategies and motivation to enhance interaction and social presence in computer-mediated communication. Ph.D. thesis, Arizona State University.
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