Volunteer State Community College

Project Description

Can Public Speaking really be taught online?

Project Abstract

More people are afraid to speak in public than they are of snakes or of dying. As colleges and universities follow distance education trends, more and more public speaking courses are being offered online. A growing body of research has shown that online education is equally effective, if not superior to, traditional classroom learning. Research based on Social Cognitive Theory has long hypothesized that communication apprehension (C.A.) can be overcome by behavior modification and by teaching coping skills. In contrast, McCroskey�s Temperament-Based Theory of Communication Apprehension suggests that oral communication anxiety is caused, in part, by genetics. C.A. is, in some contexts, a fear of immediacy, which refers to a perceived presence of closeness. Student satisfaction and academic success have been positively correlated to students� perception of instructor and classmate presence. Since fewer than 40 studies have researched the effect of immediacy in computer-mediated education, further study is indicated. The author proposes a study to investigate the possibility that some students enroll in online speech classes to avoid immediacy, thereby avoiding anxiety associated with public speaking. Furthermore, the author seeks data that will assess the effectiveness of the online public speaking course to reduce student scores of perceived C.A. McCroskey�s Personal Report of Communication Apprehension � 24 (PRCA-24) will be used.

Surveys released for this project:
Online Public Speaking Course Syllabus Survey 38
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