AERA 2018 Annual Meeting: “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education”
April 13-17, 2018
Title: "Are Our Measures Off-Line? Critiquing Measures of Motivation in Online Courses"
Authors: Peter McPartlan, Teomara Rutherford (PhD Alumna/North Carolina State)
When investigating disparities between online and face-to-face courses, sense of belonging stands out as an understudied source of motivation. Although instruments established to measure school belonging are adapted to classroom contexts, little work addresses whether students conceptualize belonging differently between contexts. This mixed-method study illustrates that students describe belonging similarly across contexts, but the experiences that promote classroom belonging are much more heavily driven by instructors. Cognitive interviews revealed that several measures of school belonging mostly capture noise when adapted to the college classroom. Finally, quantitative results mostly reflect qualitative reports, but belie the important role that anonymity plays in fostering belonging in online classes. Implications for theory and measurement of belonging in online contexts is discussed.