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Title:The impact of motivational messages on student performance in community college online courses
Author(s):Robb, Cathy
Director of Research:Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bragg, Debra D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):DeStefano, Lizanne; Cain, Timothy R.; Kose, Brad W.
Department / Program:Ed Organization and Leadership
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):online learning
Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction model (ARCS)
motivational messages
improving online student performance
Abstract:The purpose of this experimental study was to determine whether motivational emails sent from an instructor to student had an impact on performance in an online course, with student performance measured by course completion and course performance as evidenced by final course grade. The sample for the study was students enrolled in 12 online classes offered by one community college during the spring 2009 semester. These students were randomly assigned to two groups, a control group and an experimental group, and both groups were sent five motivational email messages from the faculty member teaching the course. Keller’s (2006b) Course Interest Survey (CIS) was administered electronically to measure student motivation. The CIS instrument was modified so that the experimental group received six open-ended questions concerning the impact of the motivational messages on their course performance.. Principal components analysis was used to determine whether the constructs originally associated with the CIS, specifically Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction (ARCS) model (Keller, (1983), were confirmed, and results showed that the constructs were not confirmed. Consequently, a new Feedback, Instructor Techniques, Goals, and Interest (FIGI) model emerged that represented the constructs of motivation for students enrolled in the community college online course. The FIGI model, unlike the ARCS model, represented both extrinsic and intrinsic student motivation. Chi-square and t-tests were used to determine whether there were significant associations or significant differences between the experimental and control groups on: background variables used to describe the students and control for differences, the intervening variable as measured by the mean CIS score and sub-scores, and the two dependent variables of mean final grade, and proportion of completers. A multiple regression was conducted to assess the extent to which the FIGI subscales predicted final grade, and a logistic regression was conducted to assess the extent to which the FIGI subscales predicted course completion, after controlling for demographic and educational variables. The findings showed students participating in an online course benefited from the treatment. Results showed a higher proportion of the experimental group were successful completers of the online course than the control group. Results also showed a significant difference in final course grade and CIS scores for the experimental and control group, with final grades of the experimental group exceeding the control group. A multiple regression showed a significant effect for the Goals subscale on predicting final grade, controlling for demographic and educational variables. This was the first empirical study to use emailed motivational messages and the CIS, supplemented with open-ended questions, at a community college. The results provide valuable insights into how email can be used in community college online classes to motivate students and enhance their course performance. An important development of the study is the identification of the FIGI motivation model showing intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the context of students’ receiving motivational email messages. This study should be replicated at other community colleges that offer online courses to further explore the FIGI subscales and determine their impact on course completion and performance.
Issue Date:2010-05-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Cathy Robb
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-14
Date Deposited:2010-05

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