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Examining the Motivation and Emotions of College Students and Faculty in Synchronous Hybrid Courses



  • Robet Stupnisky (University of North Dakota, Theme 2)
  • Reinhard Pekrun (Ludwig-Maximilians U., Theme 2)
  • Nathan Hall (McGill U., Theme 2)

Research Assistants:

  • Nikolaus Butz (University of North Dakota)


The physical classroom has long been the traditional learning environment in higher education;however,attendingon-campus classes are no longer ideal for many contemporary students who are bound by work, family, and geography (Bocchi, Eastman, & Swift, 2004). A recent study by Allen and Seaman (2011) reported a 12.9% enrollment increase in non-traditional delivery modes, whichfar exceeded the annual growth of the overall student population (just over two percent since 2002). To capture this growing market, many postsecondary institutions have implementedhybrid deliveryas a course option that provides synchronous instruction to both on-campus and online students(using real-time audio and video technology).

Schlosser and Anderson (1994) stated that the primary goal of distance education is to offer online students an educational experience as similar as possible to that of on-campus students. Although this goal isadmirable, Artino and Jones (2012) argued that learning online is inherently different from learning in a traditional classroomfor both educators and learners. Instructors of hybrid coursesmust grapple with online and on-campus students having different perceptions of the learning environment, as well as different expectations for the instructors’ role(Mullen &Tallent-Runnels, 2006).Students in hybrid courses, bothon-campus and online, must take greater responsibility to self-regulate their learning to overcome this inherent discrepancy in hybrid environments (Dabbagh&Kitsantas, 2004). Recent research has shown the critical role that students’ achievement emotions have for self-regulation of learning, motivation, and academic performance in traditional classrooms (Pekrun et al., 2002; Pekrun et al., 2011); however, similar studies of motivation and emotionin hybrid classrooms have yet to be conducted.

The purpose of this program of research is to examine if student status (online vs. face-to-face) in a hybrid learning environment moderates the relationship between emotions (Pekrun, 2006, Control-value Theory of Emotions) and motivation (Deci& Ryan, 1985, Self-determination Theory of Motivation) with success (see Figure 1). These established theories provide a useful framework for examining the hybrid learning environment in terms of basic psychological needs, motivation, control, value, emotions,and perceived success. These variables will be used to contrast online and on-campus students in the hybrid learning environment. Ultimately, this program of research aims to examine the complexity of emotions and motivation for student and faculty in synchronous hybrid courses.