California and Student's Preferences of Choosing Online or Traditional Class

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Introduction With the rapid pace of online courses’ increasing, enrollment in online courses have rising continuously for several years. “Over 6.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term” (Allen & Seaman, 2011). Comparing to traditional class, online course offers several advantages to students, which include flexibility, adaptability, accessibility and so forth (Borstorff, 2007). For student who has high level of communication apprehension (CA), the most noticeable benefit the one could gain from online course would be communication via computer mediation, which has been called as computer-mediated communication (CMC). Synchronous or asynchronous discussion board, electronic mail, and computer conferences represent the characteristics of CMC in online course (Flaherty, Pearce & Rubin, 2009). With those traits, online course creates a more comfortable learning environment with great equality of participation, idea generation, and low pressure for student (Campbell & Neer, 2001), especially for high CA students, who feel anxiety and uncomfortable to participant in traditional class. To verify in what degree CMC in online course affects high CA students’ CA level, class involvement, and learning outcome. Pervious researches focus on examining online discussion rates and GPAs of students for testing high CA students’ class involvement and learning outcome. For example the pre-post test conducted by Clark and Jones (2011), they found that CA is insignificant differ between students who have taken the course online and who have taken it in traditional format. The result of this study was supported by Campbell and Neer (2001), besides that they concluded: “high CAs do not view CMC in online co... ... middle of paper ... ...been highlighted. As for alternative techniques, students have more freedom during class meetings, such as Inside-outside circles (Kagan, 1990), which allows students to change their seats randomly and share responses with others. Even though those techniques hold promise for putting students in a comfortable learning circumstance, not all strategies have equal effects on each student (O’ Connor, 2013). Besides, for those with high CA, who feel odds to share opinions in the public, those strategies may force them to avoid face-to-face communication even more. Thus, CMC in online course could be an alternative choice for those students to get more involvement in learning process. CMC in online course Test-based modes of CMC include e-mail, forums, chat and World Wide Web, due to the fast development of the Internet, CMC has been tremendous growth (Herrning, 2002).

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