Tuckman, B. W. (2005). The effect of motivational scaffolding on procrastinators’ distance learning outcomes. Computers & Education, 49(2), 414–422.
In this article, Tuckman’s quantitative study examines the effects of motivational scaffolding on procrastinators’ course performance and grade point average (GPA) when completing a web-based study skills course. In this study, students were identified as procrastinators using the Tuckman Procrastination Scale and their results were reported based on which group they were placed into. The motivational scaffolding consisted of a required synchronous meeting for one hour each week for the first eight weeks of the course in which each student would have the opportunity to discuss his or her weekly to-do checklist with another student in the course. In addition, instructor office hours were held online and students were required to attend at least one time. Both the asynchronous meetings and the online instructor office hours were phased out after the first eight weeks of the course. The results of the study demonstrated that the course performance and gains in overall GPA for the semester improvement was seen by procrastinators while low procrastinators no effects were shown.
When looking at Tuckman’s study, the terms distance learning, web-based, computer-mediated communication all seem to be focused on what is now termed online learning. The literature review explained the main components of the study in a rather limited fashion. In addition, some points were explained in the methods section of the study which could have been explored in more detail if examined in the literature section, too. In addition, the experiment looked at two factors in regard to motivational scaffolding – asynchronous to-do checklist meetings and instructor office hours. If only one of these was examined at a time, the effects of each one individually on procrastinators’ course completion and overall semester GPA could then be examined.
The importance of instructor and student interaction in online courses has been driven home to me this week. From the empirical study by Abrami, Bernard, Bures, Borokhovski, Tamim (2011) concerning the importance of interactions in online learning to the paper by Biskupic, Lackovic, Jurina (2015) about the role of instructors in online education, online learning works best when students and instructors interact. Unfortunately, many educators and students are not interacting in this way in online courses. There seems to be a misconception about online teaching: it is easy. Teachers just need to put all of the course material online including self-grading quizzes, and students will do the work and get a grade. That is far from the truth if a teacher wants to also teach so that students learn. However, it is not that much different than teaching in the classroom. There are classrooms in which the teachers tell the students, “Be quiet! Read pages 65 – 85 and complete all practice problems on page 86.” Then, the teacher sits down at their desk and grades the practice problems the students turned in from the day before. The difference in online education is that if a student tends to procrastinate, he or she will find something else to do until they have to do the work, or they give up on the course altogether. By interacting with the students in either situation, teachers are doing what teachers are supposed to do – teach.
Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Bures, E. M., Borokhovski, E., & Tamim, R. M. (2011). Interaction in distance education and online learning: using evidence and theory to improve practice. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 23(2-3), 82–103.
Biškupić, I. O., Lacković, S., & Jurina, K. (2015). Successful and Proactive e-learning Environment Fostered by Teachers’ Motivation in Technology Use. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 174, 3656–3662.
Tuckman, B.W. (1991). The development and concurrent validity of the procrastination scale. Educational and psychological Measurement, 51, 473-480.