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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Randall Koper

First Committee Member

Qingwen Dong

Second Committee Member

Jon F. Schamber


This qualitative study investigated the use of instructor affinity-seeking through two distinct channels- face-to-face and e-mail- to understand the effects of and ways to improve out-of-class communication. This research explores the frequency and nature of interactions, sheds light on the preferred channels of communication, and reveals the effectiveness of instructor initiated affinity-seeking. Undergraduate students enrolled at a mid-sized private university were asked to participate in a series of focus groups. Focus group results indicated that students have minimal contact with faculty outside the class and mostly formal topics are discussed. Students reported that instructors were successful at gaining affinity by using appropriate nonverbal cues during face-to-face communication. In general, students reported that computer-mediated affinity-seeking was misunderstood and inappropriately presented. Results also illustrated which affinity-seeking strategies encouraged and hindered frequency of out-of-class communication.



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