University of Limerick
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On the effect of text messaging on student perception of instructor immediacy

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posted on 2022-10-19, 11:10 authored by Paul Hayes
The quality of the communication between instructors and students has been shown to be one of the key factors in the quality of the learning experience of students. However, as is often the case in higher education, communication between instructors and students is very limited due to such factors as large class sizes, limited contact time and student reluctance to approach instructors. This research investigates the effect of using text messaging for out-of-class communication between instructor and student on student perception of the immediacy of their instructor. Immediacy is defined as behaviour which increases psychological closeness between communicators. Research studies in instructional communication suggest that enhanced instructor immediacy is linked to more positive student-instructor relationships engendering positive attitudes, increased interest and motivation by students as well as improved attendance, retention, engagement and learning. The research question for this thesis was developed from literature reviews in both the fields of instructional communication and mobile learning and also from the findings of a number of preliminary research studies. To address the main research question a year-long research study was conducted into the use of text messaging for out-of-class communication and its effects on student perception of instructor immediacy. Both quantitative measures of immediacy and qualitative feedback from students show that the instructor is perceived as closer, more approachable and responsive when text messaging services are offered. The student feedback also shows that the use of text messaging has other positive effects on student learning experience, including enhanced motivation and engagement.



  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Hall, Timothy

Second supervisor

Weibelzahl, Stephan





Department or School

  • Electronic & Computer Engineering

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