CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Ling Wang

Committee Member

Marlyn Littman

Committee Member

Suki Stone


The online course delivery at university settings causes students anxiety and frustration. Students are experiencing apprehension and anxiety in online classes for a variety of reasons. This tension is caused by test taking, miscommunication with instructor, confusion, and a lack of interaction between peers. Students indicated a lack of knowledge of course expectations and not receiving immediate feedback on their activities caused them anxiety in online classes.

This study investigated online students' anxiety and frustration in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. The study examined to what extent the use of a synchronous engagement system (SES) as an eLearning tool assisted graduate students with alleviating frustration and stress when attending online classes. The SES was incorporated into the Management (MGT) 608 course for the quasi-experimental design to examine and compare anxiety of students after using the SES as an intervention. The study findings revealed that SES was favorable in alleviating students' frustration and anxiety. Based on the results, the SES helped students with communication and interaction in online learning. Therefore, the students' level of comfort was increased as they participated with their peers and instructor using the appropriate tools that they learned through participation in the current study. The results of the study conveyed changes in student anxiety from the experimental group who used the SES as an intervention. They believed that the SES helped them significantly decrease their frustration and anxiety. The qualitative results of the study revealed that overall students found the SES was beneficial to their learning. They were pleased with receiving the guidance from the videos in order to maintain their focus on learning the content and not be overwhelmed with technology.

The implication of the study involved the importance of the SES whereby students overcame their anxiety while able to communicate more effectively. The result of the study conveyed changes in students' anxiety based on their use of SES. This study filled the gap in the literature by introducing the SES as an intervention to alleviate students' anxiety. It is evident that tools similar to SES should be incorporated into online synchronous chat.

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