The Impact of the Learner’s Meta-ability Changes on Interpersonal Relations with Teachers under COVID-19: A Lens of Computer-mediated Communication
Cho, S-J; Lee, DD
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the higher education institutions of South Korea have switched to a full-scale distance-learning paradigm. This study aimed to investigate the impact of changes in the learner's meta-ability on interpersonal relations with teachers as well as to examine a causal relationship between the two variables, along with a theoretical lens of computer-mediated communication (CMC). Relying on media richness theory and social information process theory about CMC, the research first mapped out 16 pre-determined variables from the related literature in a proposed conceptual model combining three measurable elements of meta-abilities required for higher education learners and the learner-teacher relationship. In response to the changeover to online education, this empirical work looked into nonverbal messages from 117 students and surveyed 207 students attending a Korean general university after collecting the data in December 2020 and June 2021 over the two academic terms. Empirical results from the survey respondents showed that the changes in meta-cognitive ability and meta-affective ability affected interpersonal relations with teachers; however, changes in meta-social ability left no influences on the learner-teacher relationship. The factor in their school year worked as a moderator, particularly affecting the causal relationship in variables between changes with meta-cognition as well as meta-affection and interpersonal relations. These findings would be noteworthy for university educators and policymakers to understand the impact of the learner's meta-ability changes on interpersonal relations with teachers via CMC in the long-term pandemic context. This study proposes the original CMC-specific theoretical model, and it will eventually contribute to higher education academia and to the field of education informatics whose research interests include rising issues of a distance-learning scenario under COVID-19.