Volume 12, Number 3, Winter 2013

An Investigation of the Impact of an Intervention to Reduce Academic Procrastination Using Short Message Service (SMS) Technology

Darrel R. Davis
Jason T. Abbitt
Miami University


This mixed-method pilot study investigated the impact of a custom Short Message Service (SMS) reminder system developed to help students reduce procrastination and increase performance on weekly content-related quizzes in a high-enrollment hybrid online course. Text message reminders were sent to three students with high procrastination and low performance levels on a schedule based on free-operant avoidance principles, where messages would be terminated upon completion of the weekly quiz. The results suggest that there was sufficient evidence that the system had a positive effect on procrastination levels, but less evidence for an effect on performance. Subsequent interviews with the participants confirmed the utility and potential of the system, and revealed areas for improvement in the implementation of the SMS reminder system as well as an understanding of the students’ response to the intervention.

Attribution as a Predictor of Procrastination in Online Graduate Students

Glenda C. Rakes
The University of Tennessee in Martin

Karee E. Dunn
The University of Arkansas

Thomas A. Rakes
The University of Tennessee in Martin


Online courses are growing at a tremendous rate, and although we have discovered a great deal about teaching and learning in the online environment, there is much left to learn. One variable that needs to be explored further is procrastination in online coursework. In this mixed methods study, quantitative methods were utilized to evaluate the influence of online graduate students’ attributions for academic outcomes to ability, effort, context, and luck on their tendency to procrastinate. Additionally, qualitative methods were utilized to explore students’ attributional beliefs about their tendency to procrastinate in their online coursework. Collectively, results indicated that ability, effort, context, and luck influenced procrastination in this sample of graduate students. A discussion of these findings, implications for instructors, and recommendations for future research ensues.

Weather, Climate, Web 2.0: 21st Century Students Speak Climate Science Well

Cheryl White Sundberg
Ronin Institute Research Scholar

Teresa Kennedy
University of Texas at Tyler

Michael R.L. Odell
University of Texas at Tyler


Problem-based learning (PBL) and inquiry learning (IL) employ extensive scaffolding that results in cognitive load reduction and allows students to learn in complex domains. Hybrid teacher professional development models (PDM) using 21st century social collaboration tools embedding PBL and IL shows promise as a systemic approach for increasing teacher content knowledge of climate science and ubiquitous social media technology skills. This paper describes workshops designed to increase the climate pedagogical content knowledge (CPCK) of upper elementary and secondary teachers while providing initial and on-going scaffolding for successful implementation of PBL projects involving collaborative research on local, regional and global climate topics. Exemplars of participation by the K-12 students in the citizen scientist component of the “From Learning to Research” project (L2R) are described, including illustrations of recognition by local and global community members regarding students’ contributions to reducing anthropomorphic impact on local ecosystems.

Virtual High School Teacher and Student Reactions to the Social Presence Model

Amy Garrett Dikkers
University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Aimee L. Whiteside
University of Tampa

Somer Lewis
University of North Carolina Wilmington


Using the Social Presence Model (SPM), the authors explore the teacher and student experience at the North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS), the largest public online secondary school where teachers design and develop the curriculum. Through a series of surveys, focus groups, and interviews, this two-year mixed methods study investigates the concept of social presence through the SPM. The overall findings suggest that teachers value all five elements of the SPM and see it as an important new heuristic for achieving increased student satisfaction and outcomes. Students largely did not find the Model useful, except for the Instructor Involvement element. Furthermore, because of their online learning experiences, students noted an increased investment in their own learning. Further analysis suggests the importance of integrating connectedness and social presence into student orientations and teacher professional development opportunities. Overall, social presence serves as learning a new language—a new literacy—that is essential to a successful online teaching and learning experience.

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