Date of Graduation

Fall 2020


Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education in English



Committee Chair

Cathie English


This study enters the discourse surrounding student-faculty interaction through an investigation of out-of-class interactions within an entry-level composition course. Empirical studies have found students and instructors in undergraduate courses often communicate infrequently, but most studies gathered quantitative data on interactions through student reporting. This study investigated influences on undergraduate students’ desire to interact with the course instructor outside of the classroom through the lens of both the instructor and the students. This study addressed the potential differences between students’ perceptions and the course instructor’s observations and found that the instructors’ demeanor, course content, and instructional delivery impact the number of interactions. Course-related interactions are most frequently initiated by students in entry-level composition courses, and intentional behaviors and curriculum choices can influence the number of interactions. This study corroborates past research that determined that student dispositions influence interactions outside of the classroom, but also asserts students’ self-perceptions of independent success and academic autonomy influence their desire to initiate interactions outside of the classroom. As the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic likely influenced this study, implications for future research include the impact of course specific instructional methods and interaction modalities on student interaction preferences. Additionally, future studies may investigate how contemporary student values of independence can be utilized to reconstruct invitations to interaction and collaboration opportunities.


undergraduate, composition, approachability, COVID-19, independence, self-perceptions, student-faculty interaction, student, instructor, collaboration

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© Alyssa K. Knight

Open Access

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