In an online course, learners engage with course content, other learners, the instructor, and the technological medium through which the content is delivered. Generally, true interactions involve reciprocal exchange of information. Such interactions are intended to promote knowledge development in the learning environment. However, some types of interaction may be absent. Regardless, they are intended to enhance a learner’s understanding of course content and mastery of its defined goals.
In a mixed-methods study, researchers will examine the type and frequency of interactions in online courses. The researchers will examine whether the interaction is actively rendered or purposefully designed. The researchers will then survey course participants to determine the type of interaction they prefer. Although no one can predict the exact amount of interaction that will be required in an online course, the results from this study suggest that it is essential for success. When added to an online course, the interaction has a positive impact on learning.
There is little evidence to suggest that the amount of student interaction has a direct correlation with successful course completion. Although pedagogical consensus exists about the importance of student interaction, research suggests that students in online courses may oppose it. Many students do not fully understand the benefits or imperatives that interact with others in a distance course, making it difficult to gauge the effectiveness of online courses. It is important to understand what factors students find useful when determining the appropriate amount of interaction for their own online courses.
One important factor that hinders student engagement in coursework is time. Rankin and Atack reported that their participants did not have the time to access course content while they were at work. The work environment is not conducive to learning, and participants also had to compete with others for access to their home computers. The study also found that students who were more likely to complete a course had a better attitude toward it. If these factors can be addressed, students should be more inclined to stay with their online courses.
Students’ academic emotions, such as excitement and anxiety, also affect the type and effect of online course interaction. Researchers have found that positive emotions promote higher levels of interaction between instructors and learners. Positive academic emotions are linked to learning persistence, while negative emotions negatively affect student engagement. In addition, students’ self-regulation is associated with higher levels of enjoyment and pride. Although this relationship does not fully explain why the level of student engagement differs, it does suggest a potential impact on student learning and persistence.
Research into the effects of teacher-student interactions on student learning is ongoing. One important goal of online education is to develop effective methods for improving teacher-student interaction. However, despite the fact that the effects of online courses interaction vary, there is no single way to ensure that all students are learning effectively. Rather, the study will seek to understand which factors influence student learning and engagement in online courses. Its findings will contribute to an improvement of online education and teaching and learning.
Check our academic programs here.
Photo by Pixabay.com