Student perceptions of differences in visual communication mode for an online course in engineering

Suma Bhat, Geoffrey Herman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Online courses have the promise of extending the horizons of today's academic landscape with their cost-effective and convenient model compared to traditional learning environments. Despite the promising nature of the learning model, there continue to be several challenges that hinder learning, one of which is lack of instructor presence. This study aims at understanding the effect of instructor presence on student satisfaction in an online setting of a course in engineering. We conducted a student-centered pilot experiment to assess engineering students' perceptions of two modes of online minilectures: the first, a presentation with the instructor appearing in window, created using an off-the-shelf screen-capture software; the second, a presentation with the instructor overlaid in the slides created using recent visual communication technology that overlays the video of the instructor without any background images or outline boxes. The instructor was the same in both the presentations. Our focus here is on the following factors: 1. Comparing overall student satisfaction after watching the two modes; 2. Comparing the perceived non-verbal immediacy factors of the instructor; and, 3. Comparing the preference of video mode for future online courses. Preliminary results suggest a preference of the video mode with the instructor overlaid over that with the instructor in a box. The effect sizes of the differences in overall satisfaction between the experimental groups and their perceived levels of non-verbal immediacy factors when viewing the online lecture in the two modes are encouraging enough to pursue more longitudinal studies with the set-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationEnergizing the Future, FIE 2013 - Proceedings
Number of pages3
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013 - Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2013Oct 26 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOklahoma City, OK

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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