Teacher perceptions and student interaction in online and hybrid university language learning courses

Gironzetti, E., Lacorte, M., & Muñoz-Basols, J. (2020). Teacher perceptions and student interaction in online and hybrid university language learning courses. In M. Planelles Almeida, A. Foucart, & J. M. Liceras (Eds), Current perspectives in language teaching and learning in multicultural contexts/Perspectivas actuales en la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de lenguas en contextos multiculturales. Madrid: Thomson Reuters Aranzadi.



Student enrollment and interest in online university courses (or hybrid courses that have an online component) has grown exponentially in the United States in recent years (Allen & Seaman, 2006, 2008; Chen et al., 2010). This has led to the expectation that teachers integrate an online component into their courses (Salaway & Caruso, 2008). While the outcomes of online education may seem generally encouraging (Nelson Laird & Kuh, 2005; Robinson & Hullinger, 2008), positive effects, if any, may not be due to the online component itself (Means et al., 2009). In fact, several studies report negative or mixed results regarding student engagement and other outcomes depending on variables such as discipline within the humanities (Johnson & Palmer, 2015; Ushida, 2005), student profiles (Xu & Jaggars, 2014), course load (Shea & Bidjerano, 2018), and rates of students repeating the class and early disengagement (Murphy & Steward, 2017) as well. This study focuses on best practices for developing and teaching online or hybrid undergraduate courses in a second language (L2) other than English, with the overall goal of increasing engagement, enrollment and retention of minority and non-traditional students (e.g., over 24 years old, with a full-time job, or with children, among other options), such as working professionals, as well as teachers’ effectiveness and satisfaction. The study follows a mixed-methods design, combining qualitative data (from the analysis of course materials and responses to open-ended questions in the surveys) and quantitative data (from the analysis of closed-questions in the surveys). The results pinpoint which aspects students and teachers value in such courses and highlight a gap between students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the effectiveness of online courses, which appears to have an impact on their satisfaction.