Date of Award

Summer 8-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Chair

Dr. David Daves

Committee Chair Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3

Dr. T. Terrell Tisdale

Committee Member 3 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 4

Dr. Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purposes of this study were to: (a) determine if taking the basic public speaking course in face-to-face, hybrid, and online format statistically significantly reduces public speaking anxiety; (b) determine which course format, if any, reduces public speaking anxiety to the greatest extent; (c) determine if students’ satisfaction with learning is statistically significantly different in the three course formats; (d) determine faculty’s perceptions of students learning in the basic public speaking in the three course formats.

Pre- and post-data were collected from 263 participants taking the basic public speaking course in a virtual community college in January 2012 and in May 2012. Predata were collected using McCroskey’s (1982) Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety (PRPSA). A post data survey administration included satisfaction questions about participants’ learning experiences in addition to the post-PRPSA. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 53 years, with a mean age of 23.23 years. The majority of the respondents were females, while the two most reported ethnicities were Caucasian and African American. The majority of members reported that they were freshmen. Additionally, 11 of 21participating faculty members (52.4%) completed the faculty perceptions of students learning questionnaire at the end of the Spring 2012 semester.

Results of the current study suggest that all course formats statistically significantly reduced public speaking anxiety and that the online course format lowered public speaking anxiety statistically significantly greater when compared to the face-toface format, but perhaps this was due to selection bias, where students who were extremely anxious at baseline self-selected the fully-online course. Also, students in the fully-online course indicated that although their anxiety was reduced, their comfort speaking in front of others, their confidence in public speaking, and their public speaking skills did not improve nearly to the extent that students who took the course in the traditional and hybrid formats reported.

The results of the study also indicate that students are significantly more satisfied with the face-to-face course than with the fully-online course and that faculty members deem the face-to-face and hybrid courses to be more efficacious in reaching desired student learning outcomes.