Title

Nonverbal immediacy behaviors and online student engagement: Bringing past research into the present virtual classroom

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-2017

Publication Source

Communication Education

Volume

66

Issue

1

Inclusive pages

37-53

DOI

10.1080/03634523.2016.1209222

Publisher

Routledge

ISBN/ISSN

03634523

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

Nonverbal immediacy behaviors are underresearched in the online teaching environment. Using social presence theory as a guiding framework, this study explores several online nonverbal immediacybehaviors: emoticons/figurative language, color, cohesion, visual imagery, and audio in course design; response latency, length, time of day, and message frequency in forums; and type and promptness of feedback via grading and email. Coding of 51 online courses found that more consistent use of nonverbal immediacy behaviors was related to students’ reports of higher course engagement. However, the nonverbal behaviors most associated with engagement were the ones not used as often. Findings indicate instructors can improve the effectiveness of online learning environments via nonverbal immediacy behaviors.

Keywords

immediacy, Nonverbal behaviors, online instruction, social presence, student engagement

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