Communication apprehension, information technology fluency, and Internet access as factors affecting college students' participation in in-class and online discussion

Date
2007-01-01
Authors
Damman, Edwin
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W. Wade Miller
Committee Member
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Altmetrics
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Agricultural Education and Studies
Abstract

The purpose of this explanatory, non-experimental research study was to identify relationships between factors affecting college students' participation in class discussions, both in-class discussion and through an online threaded discussion forum. The predictor variables identified as factors were: apprehension of class participation, apprehension of computer-mediated communication, degree of information technology fluency, and Internet access (which provides a gateway to the online threaded discussion forum). The outcome variables were the amount of classroom discussion participation and the amount on online threaded discussion participation exhibited by the students.;Analyses of the data collected in this study revealed a moderate negative relationship (r = -.60) between the degree of classroom apprehension and the amount of classroom discussion participation the students exhibited which indicated that more apprehensive students participated less in the class discussion. This result was expected.;A preliminary analysis revealed a moderate positive relationship (r = .46) between students' online threaded discussion participation score and their cumulative grade-point average (GPA) which indicated that students with higher GPAs participated more in the class discussion than those with lower GPAs. After controlling for GPA the three variables of students' computer-mediated communication apprehension, information technological fluency, and Internet access were not statistically significant predictors of the amount of online threaded discussion participation the students exhibited (R2 = .045). This result was not expected.;Two additional research questions were asked to verify the integrity of the research model which was found to be valid. An additional analysis indicated that gender issues had not confounded the research model. Also, additional analysis did not support a possible conclusion that high-CCA (classroom communication apprehensive) students participated more in the online threaded discussion forum more than their low- or non-CCA peers.

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