Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

Committee Chair

Victoria L. Lowell

Committee Co-Chair

James Lehman

Committee Member 1

Timothy J. Newby

Committee Member 2

Wayne E. Wright


The purpose of this mixed methods study was: 1) to document the design and implementation process of an online video-based pre-arrival course that was intended to cultivate Asian students’ willingness to communicate in American Classrooms; 2) to assess the effectiveness of the course by measuring students’ oral proficiency and willingness to communicate; and 3) to investigate their first-year classroom participation as well as their experiences with the pre-arrival course. This research inquiry was guided by two research questions: 1) How does completing an online pre-arrival course influence Asian students’ speaking abilities, willingness to communicate, and verbal participation in their first-year engineering classrooms? 2) What are the course takers’ experiences in the online American Classroom Readiness (ACR) course? Using a convergent parallel design, this study collected quantitative and qualitative data to address the research questions. The quantitative data, including scores on a willingness to communicate survey and oral proficiency analysis, measured the effectiveness of the ACR course. The qualitative interview data captured students’ experiences with the online course as well as their first-year engineering classes. Nine students completed the online pre-arrival course, and five of them participated in the follow-up interview and survey. A control group of students who did not take the online course was deployed to provide a data source for comparative analysis. The analysis of the video recordings from Week 2 and Week 6 indicated that students’ oral proficiency in English had slightly increased. However, their willingness to communicate (WTC) survey scores, compared to those of non-course takers, did not show a significant difference. When it comes to the students’ verbal participation in their first-year engineering classrooms, students who took the ACR course used strategies covered the course to communicate. The qualitative data illustrated students’ experiences with the online pre-arrival course. Using a video-based platform, students were able to connect with one another via a highly-perceived social presence. The students’ perceptions of the course format were mixed. Some students were more comfortable with the video recording, while others were nervous about being in front of the camera. Participants who reported being comfortable with the video recording scored higher on the WTC survey that was based on the face-to-face classroom, compared to the rest of the course taker group. For those participants who reported being nervous about the video recording, the effects of the ACR course were not unclear. Although not all the data indicated that this innovative undertaking was a completely successful, this study provided merits in its relevant theories and applications, including promoters of willingness to communicate and the refinement of video-based online courses. Based on the analysis, related implications and recommendations for future study were also included.