The Enhancement of Verbal Immediacy in Online University Classes: A Student-Generated Taxonomy

Richard S. Bello, Frances E. Brandau, Dena Horne


The goal of this research was to find written strategies online educators can use to create higher levels of immediacy between themselves and their students. Written strategies are simple and do not require anything other than e-mail or a feedback textbox. Students (N = 194) completed open-ended surveys asking them to list examples of written communication used by online instructors that created a sense of closeness. A subset of the data was independently coded by the authors to induce a set of 13 categories, some of which were unique to this study, in not being discovered in previous research. All of the surveys were coded using the agreed on categories. Statistical analysis suggested strategies students favored the most: encouragement, personalized feedback, and instructor availability. Other analyses also showed that such immediacy variables were associated with factors such as attitude toward online classes and tendency to enroll in them.


online immediacy, verbal strategies, affective learning, cognitive learning, online attitudes, online enrollment

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