Small talk has existed across different face-to-face settings in human communication, but it remains unclear what subtle impact it can have on digital distance teaching. This study employed a mixed method to explore the potential, features, and functions of small talk in distance teaching on Zoom. The first phase, quantitative in nature, conducted a quasi-experiment to test whether the in-class small talk of a teacher, Tom, would have a significant impact on his students’ perceived level of satisfaction in learning experience on Zoom. The second phase, qualitative in nature, analyzed Tom’s recordings of teaching on Zoom to elucidate any recurring procedures or sequences of in-class small talk using conversation analysis. The first phase showed that students in a Zoom lesson with Tom’s small talk were associated with a statistically significantly larger mean level of satisfaction in learning experience than those in the same mode but without his small talk. The second phase, though, indicated that Tom’s students only occasionally responded to his small talk. Even when they did so, they tended to delay and chose to respond in the chatbox. The study concludes that teacher small talk will have a positive but invisible impact on student learning experience online. It is suggested that developers of online teaching software should consider designing commands to create multimodal effects to aid teacher users to perform small talk in an easy way and in a friendly manner. Copyright © 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
|Title of host publication||Emerging technologies for education: 6th International Symposium, SETE 2021, Zhuhai, China, November 11–12, 2021, Revised Selected Papers|
|Editors||Weijia JIA, Yong TANG, Raymond S. T. LEE, Michael HERZOG, Hui ZHANG, Tianyong HAO, Tian WANG|
|Place of Publication||Cham|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
CitationChui, M. H. L., Mak, B. C. N., & Cheng, G. (2021). Exploring the potential, features, and functions of small talk in digital distance teaching on Zoom: A mixed-method study by quasi-experiment and conversation analysis. In W. Jia, Y. Tang, R. S. T. Lee, M. Herzog, H. Zhang, T. Hao, & T. Wang (Eds.), Emerging technologies for education: 6th International Symposium, SETE 2021, Zhuhai, China, November 11–12, 2021, Revised Selected Papers (pp. 364-372). Cham: Springer.
- Small talk
- Distance teaching
- Online learning
- Computer-assisted language learning
- Computer-mediated communication
- Conversation analysis