A Communications Protocol in a Synchronous Chat Environment
Student Satisfaction in a Web-Based Computer Science Course
The effects of a communications protocol in a synchronous on-line chat environment on the satisfaction of students in a Web-based computer science course was studied. Two undergraduate faculty members who teach Web-based courses, and 42 students in four separate computer science courses participated in the study. Students completed a pretest that measured their prior experience, current attitudes, and expectations with regards to synchronous chats in a Web-based course. Two classes of students were introduced to a communications protocol by the instructors that was used throughout the course while in synchronous chat. The other two classes did not use a protocol. A posttest was administered to all students at the end of each course that measured student satisfaction with the synchronous chats held throughout the semester. A communications protocol, in the context of this investigation, is a set of rules or guidelines that are adhered to by all participants while engaged in a synchronous electronic discussion.
This study answered the question: What effect does a communications protocol in a synchronous on-line chat environment have on the satisfaction of students in a Web-based computer science course? The study showed that the use of a communications protocol in on-line synchronous chats had no effect on student satisfaction with Web-based courses.
About the Author
Paul Giguere is a Senior Technology Associate at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) in Newton, Massachusetts. Dr. Giguere is responsible for investigating and implementing distance learning systems, theories, and practices with regards to Web-based learning and its appropriateness for the delivery of training and professional development through projects primarily based in the Center for Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) at EDC. Dr. Giguere also teaches and lectures at area universities on such topics as computer science theories and the ethical issues involving technology in society. He holds an M.S. degree in Administration and a B.S. degree in Human Services, both from Springfield College, and a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in Instructional Technology and Distance Education from Nova Southeastern University.