Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Camilla Vasquez, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Wei Zhu, Ph.D.

Keywords

Attitude, Affect, Online language-learning, Computer-mediated communication, Self-determination theory

Abstract

This dissertation investigated the effects of instructor's self-disclosure using the Facebook social networking online platform on students' motivation types, attitudes, and performance in the course. The participants were 104 beginning French students enrolled in an online French course at a research one university in the southeast U.S. The participants were divided into a Facebook group, where they could access the instructor's Facebook profile throughout the semester, and a control group. Demographic data about the participants were gathered through a background questionnaire. Two instruments were used for determining respectively the types of motivation exhibited by students and their attitudes toward the course and its instructor. An open-ended exit questionnaire provided qualitative data about the participants' experience in the study. The results indicated that participants in the Facebook group experienced a significant shift in motivation type that research has determined as being beneficial for language learning. No such shift occurred in students assigned to the control group. However, there was no significant difference in attitudes toward the course and its instructor between the two groups. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in performance between the two groups. Qualitative data suggests that participants in the Facebook group were more inclined to relate with the instructor whereas participants assigned to the control group were more hermetic to the idea of instructor's self-disclosure through Facebook.

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