Solutions Lab 8- Using Paralinguistic digital cues (textisms, likes, GIFs, emoticons and emoji) to strengthen connection and engagement with your students

The perceived lack of psychological closeness and absence of social cues in the online context creates challenges that may not exist in face-to-face learning. However, the online context also affords unique opportunities to use technology to connect and relate to students in fresh and engaging ways. Paralinguistic digital cues include electronic, often non-verbal communication tools, such as textisms (e.g., gr8 for great), one-click Likes, GIFs, emoticons and emoji. Paralinguistic digital cues are commonly used in everyday social interactions conducted online.

In this session, Robyn Moffitt (Psychology, SHBS) explores how you can take digital affordances from social media to the online classroom to boost engagement and social presence for online students in an ecologically valid way. Drawing on her own research in the field, and experiences in both face-to-face and online contexts, Robyn explains how, when and why different paralinguistic digital cues can be used to support learning, assessment and feedback.

The video below is an edited version of the webinar with Q&A removed.

Solutions Lab 8 – PPT

Activity Idea

Play the game “Emoji Slides” with your students to review a topic or before an assessment.

Make a set of slides displaying a concept or a word or a question. Share your screen and present one slide at a time on Collaborate Ultra. Students have to respond by reacting to the word/concept/question on the slide with an emoji 😊 happy, ☹ sad or  😐 neutral.  If you see a :😊 happy emoji from all students you can move on to persenting the next slide. If a few students respond with a  ☹ or 😐 neutral emoji you can stop and explain the concept or give examples, and then ask them to react with an emoji again.  If the emoji is now happy, you can move ahead. Students can also create their own slides, share their screen, tag a person and ask them to react.

Adapted from: Faculty Focus – A Reflection on the Sudden Transition: Ideas to Make Your Synchronous Online Classes More Fun

Additonal Resources

  • Richardson, J. C., Maeda, Y., Lv, J., & Caskurlu, S. (2017). Social presence in relation to students’ satisfaction and learning in the online environment: A meta-analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 402–417.
  • Grieve, R., Padgett, C. R., & Moffitt, R. L. (2016). Assignments 2.0: The role of social presence and computer attitudes in student preferences for online versus offline marking. The Internet and Higher Education, 28, 8–16.
  • Grieve, R., Moffitt, R. L., & Padgett, C. R. (2019). Student perceptions of marker personality and intelligence: The effect of emoticons in online assignment feedback. Learning and Individual Differences, 69, 232–238.
  • Moffitt, R. L., Padgett, C., & Grieve, R. (2020). Accessibility and emotionality of online assessment feedback: Using emoticons to enhance student perceptions of marker competence and warmth. Computers & Education, 143, 103654.