The Effects of an Online Seminars Policy on Communication between Faculty and Students in the Online Learning Environment | Peter KIRIAKIDISAbstract: A graduate online university in northern United States of America implemented a policy on online seminars for each online course to help students increase their proficiency levels in course content via mandatory communication with faculty and peers. No research had been conducted at the research site to examine the effects of the online seminars policy on communication between faculty and students. The research problem at the study site was the lack of empirical evidence that the online seminars policy on communication between faculty and students was effective as measured by the frequency of postings posted by faculty members and their students during the online seminars. This study was grounded in the social learning theory of Vygotsky. The research question that guided this study was “What are the effects of the online seminars policy on communication between faculty and students as measured by the frequency of their postings.” Archived data were collected for two cohorts of 175 graduate students and 12 faculty members from before and after the implementation of the online seminars policy. Content analysis procedures were used on the computermediated transcripts of the discussions between faculty and students within several graduate courses in education offered entirely online. An independent sample t test was utilized to analyze the data and the researcher found a significant difference between the means of the two cohorts of faculty and student postings. The empirical evidence was that the online seminars policy on communication between faculty and students was effective.
Keywords: online universities, online seminars, communication, policy, online learning environment, professional development programs.
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