Exploring the Potential, Features, and Functions of Small Talk in Digital Distance Teaching on Zoom: A Mixed-Method Study by Quasi-experiment and Conversation Analysis

Mike Hin Leung Chui*, Bernie Chun Nam Mak, Gary Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

Abstract

Small talk has existed across different face-to-face settings in human communication, but it remains unclear what subtle impact it can have on digital distance teaching. This study employed a mixed method to explore the potential, features, and functions of small talk in distance teaching on Zoom. The first phase, quantitative in nature, conducted a quasi-experiment to test whether the in-class small talk of a teacher, Tom, would have a significant impact on his students’ perceived level of satisfaction in learning experience on Zoom. The second phase, qualitative in nature, analyzed Tom’s recordings of teaching on Zoom to elucidate any recurring procedures or sequences of in-class small talk using conversation analysis. The first phase showed that students in a Zoom lesson with Tom’s small talk were associated with a statistically significantly larger mean level of satisfaction in learning experience than those in the same mode but without his small talk. The second phase, though, indicated that Tom’s students only occasionally responded to his small talk. Even when they did so, they tended to delay and chose to respond in the chatbox. The study concludes that teacher small talk will have a positive but invisible impact on student learning experience online. It is suggested that developers of online teaching software should consider designing commands to create multimodal effects to aid teacher users to perform small talk in an easy way and in a friendly manner.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Technologies for Education - 6th International Symposium, SETE 2021, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsWeijia Jia, Yong Tang, Raymond S. Lee, Michael Herzog, Hui Zhang, Tianyong Hao, Tian Wang
PublisherSpringer Cham
Pages364-372
Number of pages9
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9783030928360
ISBN (Print)9783030928353
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2021
Event6th International Symposium on Emerging Technologies for Education, SETE 2021 - Zhuhai, China
Duration: 11 Nov 202112 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

Conference6th International Symposium on Emerging Technologies for Education, SETE 2021
Country/TerritoryChina
CityZhuhai
Period11/11/2112/11/21

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Computer-assisted language learning
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Conversation analysis
  • Distance teaching
  • Online learning
  • Small talk

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