Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



The growth of distance education, in its many forms, has had consequences for both online universities as well as more traditional universities. This study examines instructional behaviors and communication strategies used in face-to-face and online educational settings. The purpose of this study is to explore student perceptions of instructor immediacy, motivation, and communicator competence in addition to their own motivation and intrapersonal communication use in higher education settings. This dissertation follows a social scientific organizational pattern: introduction, literature review, methods, results, and discussion. The first two chapters examine the purpose of the study and the appropriate research on distance education, teacher immediacy, communication and communicator competence, student motivation, and imagined interactions. The third chapter describes the participants, instruments, and methods utilized in both the pilot and current study. The fourth chapter presents the results of the 6 hypotheses and 5 research questions posited for this current study. Finally, the discussion considers how the results clarify the potential and pitfalls associated with online education. Conclusions about the roles of immediacy, motivation, communicator competence and imagined interactions in online education are posited. The role of sample demographics and different methodological approaches are examined and implications for future research are considered.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Loretta L. Pecchioni



Included in

Communication Commons