Purpose: Online education is growing in popularity but has the potential to result in cyber incivility leading to disruptions in the learning environment. There is little known about the differences in attitudes between students and faculty in the online learning experience regarding cyber civility. The purpose of this study was to analytically measure student and faculty perceptions and attitudes of cyber incivility. Methods: A convenience sample of 180 (34 faculty and 146 students) participants from a health care university were recruited. A 27-item survey was given to record the perceptions of students and faculty on issues of cyber civility. An exploratory factor analysis was completed to validate the survey tool and determine the factors that made up the survey. A Mann Whitney U test was conducted to determine significant differences between student and faculty perceptions on the survey items. Results: Four factors were identified of the retained 19 items after the exploratory factor analysis: attitudes, presentation, appearance, and multitasking. There was a significant difference on 10 of the remaining survey items between students and faculty. Conclusions: Faculty perceived unprofessional dress, multitasking, and active display of complaints in the virtual environment more uncivil and disruptive than students. The themes show the differences between students and faculty perceptions in online platforms in healthcare educational programs. These differences highlight the need for healthcare educational programs to focus on strategies that align student and faculty expectations to positively impact the dynamics of the class and enhance learning in the virtual environment.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Kristen Barta is a physical therapist who has worked in a variety of clinical settings and is now an Associate Professor in a health science program. Her areas of research involves people with Parkinson’s disease and understanding the learning interactions between faculty and students.

Dr. Germaine Ferreira has a background in homoeopathic medicine and physical therapy. She has worked in acute care and skilled nursing facilities. Her experience in a physical therapy program as lead to more research in the cardiac population and teaching and learning in health sciences.

Dr. Manuel (Tony) Domenech is the Program Director of a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. Dr. Domenech is an emeritus American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) certified specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists.




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