Designing Teacher-Student Rapport: An All-Out Effort in Technology Driven Communities

By Vickie Shamp Ellis and Nichole M. Harlin.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Since Palmer (1998) challenged educators to authentically engage their students, the explosion of current educational delivery methods have motivated us to ask: To what extent can the design of techno environments serve to advance genuine student engagement and celebrate the best in authentic relationship building? This work expands the discussion of enthusiastic, creative teaching by enhancing distance learning communities with greater student-teacher rapport. Drawing from preliminary teacher evaluation data along with previous research, we emphasize design principles that will strengthen students’ connection to their educators while decreasing their uncertainty. In an effort to decrease transactional distance (Moore, 1993), this work describes interpersonal approaches that should be integrated in distance education. Specifically, we propose strategies involving instructor introductions, customizing design components of each distance course, and the use of humor.

Keywords: Student-Teacher Rapport, Design Principals for Education, Transactional Distance, Distance Education, Instructor Introductions, Design Components, Humor

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.25-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 722.707KB).

Dr. Vickie Shamp Ellis

Adjunct Professor, Mass Communication, Oklahoma Baptist University, Edmond, Oklahoma, USA

I am an associate professor of communication arts at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma.The commencement of my teaching career began as a competitive speech coordinator, sophomore English teacher, and speech and debate coach. Additionally, I developed peer-teaching workshops for faculty members and worked as the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Speech & Debate Coordinator in Texas high schools. After completing my Master of Science Degree in Communication Studies at the University of North Texas, I began teaching communication courses at the college level and later completed my Doctorate of Education with an emphasis on curriculum, supervision, and instruction. Throughout my experiences, I have been especially interested in developing ways to enhance communication skills across the curriculum. Encouraging positive communication skills is my career passion.

Nichole M. Harlin

Ph.D. Student, Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA

I am a 4th year doctoral student in the Instructional Systems Technology department of Indiana University. I received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science from Southwest Baptist University in 2005. For the past two years, I have been involved in coordinating the Indiana University Instructional Systems Technology departmental conference. During my time as a student at Indiana University, my studies have focused on examining distance education program design and examining design fields like software design and instructional design to determine how designers think and strategies for developing formal education programs for designers.


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