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'I took physical lessons for granted' : a case study exploring students’ interpersonal interactions in online synchronous lessons during the outbreak of COVID-19

Mari Alger (UGent) and June Eyckmans (UGent)
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Abstract
In the sudden, unprecedented, and all-encompassing shift to online education across the globe during the outbreak of COVID-19, students and teachers alike found themselves navigating a very different learning journey to what they had set out on: arguably, a more solitary and undefined one. The coronavirus pandemic presented a unique opportunity to explore how students interact when faced with a dramatic change to unknown modes and practices. This exploratory case study examines the types and functions of students’ interpersonal interactions in online classes during the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our focus is on the social and emotional side of interaction; that is, how students maintained and transformed relationships with each other and their teacher in online classes during this time of social isolation. The data comprises chat transcripts taken from eight online synchronous lessons of an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university course in Belgium. Forty students attended at least one of these lessons. To understand and quantify patterns in interpersonal interactions, content analysis guided by the Community of Inquiry theoretical framework (Garrison et al., 2000) was performed on students’ text-based messages, whereby messages were coded according to social (affective, interactive and/or cohesive) elements. To further explore the possible functions of students’ interpersonal interactions, a qualitative interpersonal pragmatics approach drawing on ‘relational work’ (Locher & Watts, 2005) was adopted, which enabled us to illustrate localised snapshots of what students achieved together in situ. Finally, to verify the phenomena observed in the transcripts, we also drew on students’ personal experiences of the transition to online learning through a thematic analysis of their responses to a series of reflective open-ended questions. Preliminary results show that interpersonal interactions helped to create an emotionally satisfying learning experience for students, which in turn helped strengthen learning persistence.

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MLA
Alger, Mari, and June Eyckmans. “‘I Took Physical Lessons for Granted’ : A Case Study Exploring Students’ Interpersonal Interactions in Online Synchronous Lessons during the Outbreak of COVID-19.” AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference, Abstracts, 2021.
APA
Alger, M., & Eyckmans, J. (2021). “I took physical lessons for granted’ : a case study exploring students” interpersonal interactions in online synchronous lessons during the outbreak of COVID-19. In AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference, Abstracts. Online.
Chicago author-date
Alger, Mari, and June Eyckmans. 2021. “‘I Took Physical Lessons for Granted’ : A Case Study Exploring Students’ Interpersonal Interactions in Online Synchronous Lessons during the Outbreak of COVID-19.” In AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference, Abstracts.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Alger, Mari, and June Eyckmans. 2021. “‘I Took Physical Lessons for Granted’ : A Case Study Exploring Students’ Interpersonal Interactions in Online Synchronous Lessons during the Outbreak of COVID-19.” In AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference, Abstracts.
Vancouver
1.
Alger M, Eyckmans J. “I took physical lessons for granted’ : a case study exploring students” interpersonal interactions in online synchronous lessons during the outbreak of COVID-19. In: AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference, Abstracts. 2021.
IEEE
[1]
M. Alger and J. Eyckmans, “‘I took physical lessons for granted’ : a case study exploring students’ interpersonal interactions in online synchronous lessons during the outbreak of COVID-19,” in AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference, Abstracts, Online, 2021.
@inproceedings{8698465,
  abstract     = {{In the sudden, unprecedented, and all-encompassing shift to online education across the globe during the outbreak of COVID-19, students and teachers alike found themselves navigating a very different learning journey to what they had set out on: arguably, a more solitary and undefined one. The coronavirus pandemic presented a unique opportunity to explore how students interact when faced  with a dramatic change to unknown modes and practices. This exploratory case study examines the types and functions of students’ interpersonal interactions in online classes during the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our focus is on the social and emotional side of interaction; that is, how students maintained and transformed relationships with each other and their teacher in online classes during this time of social isolation.

The data comprises chat transcripts taken from eight online synchronous lessons of an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university course in Belgium. Forty students attended at least one of these lessons. To understand and quantify patterns in interpersonal interactions, content analysis guided by the Community of Inquiry theoretical framework (Garrison et al., 2000) was performed on students’ text-based messages, whereby messages were coded according to social (affective, interactive and/or cohesive) elements. To further explore the possible functions of students’ interpersonal interactions, a qualitative interpersonal pragmatics approach drawing on ‘relational work’ (Locher & Watts, 2005) was adopted, which enabled us to illustrate localised snapshots of what students achieved together in situ. Finally, to verify the phenomena observed in the transcripts, we also drew on students’ personal experiences of the transition to online learning through a thematic analysis of their responses to a series of reflective open-ended questions. Preliminary results show that interpersonal interactions helped to create an emotionally satisfying learning experience for students, which in turn helped strengthen learning persistence.}},
  author       = {{Alger, Mari and Eyckmans, June}},
  booktitle    = {{AAAL 2021 Virtual Conference, Abstracts}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  location     = {{Online}},
  title        = {{'I took physical lessons for granted' : a case study exploring students’ interpersonal interactions in online synchronous lessons during the outbreak of COVID-19}},
  url          = {{https://www.xcdsystem.com/aaal/program/64O29Sh/index.cfm?pgid=57&sid=2245&abid=7579}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}