Ching-Wen Chang


In order to investigate the efficacy of interaction among college students in a Web-based learning environment, three interactive tools (discussion board, e-mail, and online chat) were evaluated regarding the level of interaction and tool preference among a diverse group of college students in terms of age, gender, and online learning experience. A survey instrument was developed and used to assess and encourage interactive qualities in distance courses. A four-factor split-plot ANOVA was applied to analyze the data. The survey’s questions were repeated across each of the three tools in order to determine interaction efficacy levels in a Web-based environment. Discussion board, e-mail, and online chat each had statistically significant interactions with one another across four different factors: Instructional Design, Instructor Engagement, Learner Engagement, and Tool Preference. E-mail was the most preferred method of interaction, particularly among younger students. Implications for practice and research are discussed.