Rapport in distance education
Rapport has been recognized as important in learning in general but little is known about its importance in distance education (DE). The study we report on in this paper provides insights into the importance of rapport in DE as well as challenges to and indicators of rapport-building in DE. The study relied on interviews with 42 Canadian high-school DE teachers. Findings revealed that rapport is necessary in DE because of the absence of face-to-face communication. Challenges to building rapport relate to the geographic dispersion of students, the asynchronous nature of DE, teacher workload, limits of the software, teachers and students not seeing the need for rapport, and DE traditions. We identified six categories of rapport-building in DE as follows: Recognizing the person/individual; Supporting and monitoring; Availability, accessibility, and responsiveness; Non text-based interactions; Tone of interactions; Non-academic conversation/interactions. We break the categories into subcategories and provide indicators for each one. The indicators might also be used in contexts of DE teacher professional development as a springboard for discussion, or, more prescriptively, as guides to DE teacher behaviour. A follow-up study using a more fine-grained focus on specific indicators might provide insights into specific rapport-related behaviours.
Copyright (c) 2012 Elizabeth Murphy, María A. Rodríguez-Manzanares
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.
This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.
You are free to
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.