International student use of electronic mail to communicate with faculty at a four-year public research institution
Paula Susan Rinehart, University of Arkansas, United States
University of Arkansas . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of e-mail usage between University of Arkansas (UA) international students and their faculty and to investigate factors that influenced the students' decisions in adopting e-mail as a communication tool.
Following an extensive literature review, a questionnaire was developed to gather information pertinent to the study. The questionnaire was mailed to 406 UA international students who were randomly selected for participation in the study, and 278 (68% response rate) students from 82 countries responded to the survey questionnaire.
Nonparametric measures of association were used to examine the degree of relationship between aspects of email use and demographic characteristics of respondents. Descriptive statistics, the Mann Whitney U, the Spearman correlation coefficient, and the Kruskal-Wallis one-way ANOVA were used to analyze the data. Frequencies and percentages were used to report demographic characteristics and to describe the utilization of e-mail. When applicable, either the Mann Whitney U, the Spearman correlation coefficient, or the Kruskal-Wallis one-way ANOVA was used to test relationships between variables.
Some of the major findings of this study were: (a) Students at higher classification levels (e.g., seniors, graduate students) tended to e-mail their professors more frequently than students at lower classification levels; (b) Those students in computer science e-mailed their professors more frequently than students in other academic programs of study, and those students in the natural sciences used e-mail with their professors less frequently; (c) Those students who rated their computer skill higher e-mailed their professors more frequently than those students who rated their computer skill lower; (d) Those students who rated their English writing skill higher tended to e-mail their professors more frequently than those students who rated their English writing skill lower; (e) Those students who were required to use e-mail by their professors were more likely to use e-mail to communicate with their faculty; and (f) The majority of students in the study agreed that Communicating with Professors at the UA should be a topic discussed during the International Student Orientation.
Rinehart, P.S. International student use of electronic mail to communicate with faculty at a four-year public research institution. Ph.D. thesis, University of Arkansas.
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