An Unintentional Case Study: How Synchronous Meetings May Influence Student Perception of Instructors
Katherine M. McCarthy, Indiana University School of Social Work
A close examination of student successes and failures in online teaching can inform and improve future pedagogy. This reflective case study involves a close examination of how an online course was conducted and was motivated by a significant drop in student qualitative and quantitative feedback in the end of term student evaluations of teaching for an MSW course taught Fall 2020. The main difference between that semester and previous semesters appeared to be the cessation for Fall 2020 of periodic synchronous meetings hosted by the instructor previously in the course. In Spring 2021 the synchronous meetings were reincorporated into the course and both the qualitative and quantitative feedback in the end of term student evaluations of teaching improved. This suggests that the students were learning more and more positively experienced the course. Thus, the role of the students seeing real-time instructor interactions may strengthen students’ sense of community, motivation to learn, and willingness to consider feedback. This has implications for the online student-instructor relationship and the instructor’s social presence in the virtual classroom.
Keywords: asynchronous online course, synchronous meetings, instructor social presence