Publication in: Fall 2022 Issue

Different Perceptions of Classroom Settings
Adam Baker
Faculty Mentor(s):
Elizabeth Pascoe
Abstract / Summary:
As a result of COVID-19, many university students and instructors have been faced with an entirely new learning format on online platforms such as Zoom. Past research has investigated how online learning affects student connection and engagement, but very little research has been conducted on these topics in relation to Zoom (synchronous online learning), which was a predominant form of online classroom during the pandemic. In this study, college students completed an online survey meant to determine if students felt there was a difference in their ability to engage and connect in online class settings versus in-person settings. We predicted that there would be a positive relationship between connection and engagement, and that students would report feeling less engaged and less connection to their classmates, instructors, and course material in their online classes. Results revealed correlations between all three forms of perceived connection (to classmates, instructor, and course material) and perceived engagement to their class in general, but a Linear Mixed Model Analysis failed to support a main effect of format on engagement or an interaction between format and connection. These findings suggest that connection may be a more important factor than classroom format in determining student engagement than classroom format, providing evidence that increasing perceptions of connection should lead to a more engaged classroom, regardless of format. Despite limitations, these results provide a basis for future researchers to better investigate the efficacy of synchronous online learning. Due to Covid-19 mask restrictions in in-person classes during the course of this study, further research should attempt to replicate these findings in a more traditional class setting, without masks.
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