You are here:

Exploration of the value of electronic discourse for developing cultural competency in college freshmen

, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, United States

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga . Awarded


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of electronic discourse on cultural competency growth among college students. Data were gathered by monitoring six discussion groups, three of which held face-to-face (FTF) discussions and three of which held electronic discussions (ED). Each group was led by a college professor after a whole-group, face-to-face presentation on three topics related to cultural competency.

Research questions were: (1) Do students participating in asynchronous ED report higher levels of self-reflective discussion contributions, as evidenced by the Assessment of Student Reflection (ASR), than those participating in FTF discussions? (2) Are student participation levels more equally-distributed in ED groups in than in FTF groups? (3) Do students involved in ED demonstrate evidence of more growth in cultural competency, as evidenced by the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy ( SEE) scores, than students involved in FTF discussions?

Analysis of the ASR found that students in the FTF and ED groups did not have significantly different reports about their levels of reflection. Based on the participant responses to open-ended questions on the ASR, discussions did help to facilitate reflection on students' beliefs and actions. The data showed that the groups reported similar levels of reflection, regardless of the type of discussion group assignment.

The analysis of the discussion group contributions demonstrated that ED groups showed evidence of more evenly-distributed participation by discussion group members. An F-ratio indicated that the variance of contributions in the FTF groups was significantly higher than in the ED groups.

Finally, the pretest and posttest results of the SEE showed that the FTF and ED groups had similar student outcomes. Results of the t tests revealed no significant differences in pretest-to-posttest gains on the SEE between the FTF and ED groups. An ANOVA to compare differences among the sub-groups found no significant differences within the groups. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research are provided.


Phillips, D.A. Exploration of the value of electronic discourse for developing cultural competency in college freshmen. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Retrieved March 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or