Self-efficacy, Challenge, Threat and Motivation in Virtual and Blended Courses on Multicultural Campuses

Revital Cohen, Ilan Rahimi, Gila Cohen Zilka
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 16  •  2019  •  pp. 071-095
Aim/Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the sense of challenge and threat, negative feelings, self-efficacy, and motivation among students in a virtual and a blended course on multicultural campuses and to see how to afford every student an equal opportunity to succeed in academic studies.

Background: Most academic campuses in Israel are multicultural, with a diverse student body. The campuses strive to provide students from all sectors, regardless of nationality, religion, etc., the possibility of enjoying academic studies and completing them successfully.

Methodology: This is a mixed-method study with a sample of 484 students belonging to three sectors: general Jewish, ultra-orthodox Jewish, and Arab.

Contribution: This study’s findings might help faculty on multicultural campuses to advance all students and enable them equal opportunity to succeed in academic studies.

Findings: Significant sectorial differences were found for the sense of challenge and threat, negative feelings, and motivation. We found that the sense of challenge and level of motivation among Arab students was higher than among the ultra-orthodox Jewish students, which, in turn, was higher than among the general Jewish student population. On the other hand, we found that the perception of threat and negative feelings among Arab students were higher than for the other two sectors for both the virtual and the blended course.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Significant feedback might lessen the sense of threat and the negative feelings and be a meaningful factor for the students to persevere in the course. Intellectual, emotional, and differential feedback is recommended. Not relating to students’ difficulties might lead to a sense of alienation, a lack of belonging, or inability to cope with the tasks at hand and dropout from the course, or even from studies altogether. A good interaction between lecturer and student can change any sense of incompetence or helplessness to one of self-efficacy and the ability to interact with one’s surroundings.

Recommendations for Researchers: Lecturers can reduce the sense of threat and negative feelings and increase a student’s motivation by making their presence felt on the course website, using the forums to manage discussions with students, and enabling and encouraging discussion among the students.

Impact on Society: The integration of virtual learning environments into the learning process might lead to the fulfilment of an educational vision in which autonomous learners realize their personal potential. Hence they must be given tasks requiring the application of high learning skills without compromise, but rather with differential treatment of students in order to reduce negative feelings and the sense of threat, and to reduce the transactional distance.

Future Research: Further studies should examine the causes of negative feelings among students participating in virtual and blended courses on multicultural campuses and how these feelings can be handled.
multiculturalism, threat, challenge, motivation, virtual course, blended course, transactional distance
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