Students' appraisal of emotional and relational experience whilst collaborating online using text based communication

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The impacts that the lack of physical cues and non-verbal cues of emotional expression has on the student learning experience in text based online environments were targeted separately in this study. A questionnaire was constructed with separate items for non-verbal cues of emotional expression and cues to physical identity. The survey also included questions about students’ previous experience with technology and collaboration, and their motivations for undertaking the course. Views about their interactions with other students were also sought. The responses of 256 students who had undertaken a text based online course where collaboration was a mandatory requirement were collected and subsequently analysed using cluster analysis. Four distinct cohorts of students were identified. Using a conceptual approach borrowed from neuroscience, modularity, it has been possible to encapsulate the effects of three distinct aspects of collaborating in text based online contexts, lack of cues to physical identity, lack of cues to emotional expression and interaction experience. These aspects were analysed alongside the student profiles for each of the four cohorts. The findings indicate that the external factors that an individual student brings to a learning context can impact on the learning experience. Neuroscientifically based knowledge that is relevant for the findings of the survey are identified and considered in terms of the questions raised from an interdisciplinary perspective.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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ERA Access