Students’ Perceptions And Experiences Of Anxiety In An Online Collaborative Project

Hilliard, Jake (2017). Students’ Perceptions And Experiences Of Anxiety In An Online Collaborative Project. MRes thesis The Open University.



This study explored students’ perceptions and experiences of anxiety in an online collaborative project. Using a mixed methods approach, data derived from an online survey of students from the UK Open University (n=76) followed by purposefully sampled semi-structured interviews among survey respondents who agreed to be interviewed (n=11). The results revealed that: a) anxiety was a commonly experienced emotion among survey respondents, with many perceiving these feelings to be greater before or at the start of the collaborative project and then gradually decreasing throughout; b) anxiety derived from various sources which were all related to ‘uncertainty’; c) different learners perceived anxiety to have facilitative, debilitative, and neutral impacts on their participation and performance in the collaborative activity; d) learners used a range of coping strategies in order to manage anxiety, with problem-focused coping being more frequently reported than either emotion-focused coping or avoidance coping strategies; and e) getting to ‘know’ participants before the start of the collaborative project and being able to express and share feelings and emotions were seen as important for supporting anxious learners. Recommendations, aimed at reducing feelings of anxiety and improving learner experience in online collaborative projects, are discussed and future research in this field is suggested.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 52546
  • Item Type
  • MRes Thesis
  • Keywords
  • anxiety; online collaborative learning; distance learning; higher education; computer-assisted instruction; internet in education; academic achievement; performance anxiety; student attitudes; distance education; group work in education; application of computer systems
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2017 The Author
  • Depositing User
  • Jake Hilliard