The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a reimagining of many aspects of higher education, including how instructors interact with their students and how they encourage student participation. Text-based chatting during synchronous remote instruction is a simple form of student-student and student-instructor interaction. The importance of student participation has been documented, as have clear disparities in participation between those well-represented and those under-represented in science disciplines. Thus, we conducted an investigation into who is texting, what students are texting, and how these texts align with course content. We focused on two sections of a large-enrollment, introductory biology class offered remotely during Fall 2020. Using an analysis of in-class chatting, in combination with student survey responses, we find that text-based chatting suggests not only a high level of student engagement, but a type of participation that is disproportionately favored by women. Given the multiple lines of evidence indicating that women typically under-participate in their science courses, any vehicle that counters this trend merits further exploration. We conclude with suggestions for further research, and ideas for carrying forward text-based chatting in the post-COVID-19, in-person classroom.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
RR, CB, SF, and SC: NSF-RCN (Equity and Diversity in Undergraduate Stem: DBI-1919462), nsf.gov The funders had no role in study
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PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.