CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Timothy J Ellis

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Martha M. Snyder

Abstract

The influx of international students attending American universities has put the U.S. at the forefront of international education, generating over $14.5 billion yearly.

International students often face adjustment issues impacting their level of satisfaction with their experience. These involve oral language proficiency, as well as feelings of anxiety and isolation resulting from language deficiencies, which increase their feelings of marginality. Engaged learning, which is dependent on comprehension, is affected by the anxiety students bring to class. It is believed that coursecasts may alleviate anxiety, thus improving student engagement in learning.

A pre-experimental research design investigates whether coursecasting mitigates feelings of marginalization and isolation, deficiencies in language comprehension and proficiency, and anxiety in international students. Research in the value of coursecasting has been anecdotal, and concrete evidence of its educational value is needed before its wide-spread adoption in educational settings (Elliot, King, & Scutter, 2009).

Participants completed the Cultural Adjustment Difficulties Checklist (CADC) by Sodowsky and Lai (1997), the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) by Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986), the Self-Reported Fluency of English Scale (SRFES) by Yeh and Inose (2003), and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Listening portion. A pretest-posttest approach was chosen to evaluate the influence of podcasting within a naturalistic setting.

The implications of the study were categorized into three areas. First, it provided insight into the barriers that negatively impact international student learning due to anxiety. Second, it identified methods of instruction, and issues that may have hindered international students from achieving at their highest level. Finally, it provided an opportunity to explore the educational effectiveness of a technology created for entertainment.

Quantitative measures yielded no significance, so the null hypotheses were rejected. It was thought that these results were due to limited exposure to the coursecasting treatment. Their significance was further discussed by providing conclusions and implications. Recommendations for future research suggest replicating the study with a control group or administering the coursecasting treatment for a longer period of time. Suggestions for educators and educational institutions include requesting faculty and staff to identify specific ways to help this vulnerable population with their acculturation instead of waiting for them to ask for help.

Although no significant impact could be established between available coursecasts and international students' perceptions of marginality and isolation, anxiety, and English language proficiency and comprehension, the findings regarding the analysis of the dependent variables seem to present interesting implications for education.

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