Call Me Sentimental: A comparative analysis of instructor sentiment vs. instructional intentions in online learning environments
Abstract: The promise of online learning is that it can help a society realize the vision of life-long learning. By making learning more affordable, accessible and available to society it increases possibility for increased knowledge within communities. Online learning would be impossible without instructors whose presence encourages student engagement. Maintaining engagement is one of the primary challenges associated with online learning. Realizing that the human elements of instructors are essential, we sought to utilize a sentiment analysis tool to examine the affective qualities of instructors in online courses. The video transcripts from three different courses by three different instructors were analyzed for their sentiment (positive, negative, neutral) and compared to interviews with the same instructors about their intentions of encouraging student engagement in their online course. We found that there was a positive relationship between instructor preparation and positive sentiment, which was largely dependent on the efficiency of their workflow, types videos recorded and their video setting(s). This lends greater implication to the need on the part of instructors to appear more “human” in their online learning as a way of encouraging student engagement and lowering attrition rates.