Date of Conferral







James Carroll


Numerous studies have focused on gender differences in communication in various learning settings and have found that men and women typically communicate in different ways; however, no studies have directly investigated undergraduate psychology major students. Based on symbolic convergence theory, a survey design was in this quantitative study to examine gender differences in online discussion strategies among undergraduate psychology student majors at online universities. Focusing on 4 asynchronous online discussion strategies, the research questions addressed gender differences in discussion strategies while controlling for students' previous experience with online learning and level of study in their current program. A convenience sample of 117 online undergraduate psychology majors completed the Discussions Strategies Scale-Asynchronous. Using independent t-tests and an analysis of covariance, the results revealed no significant gender difference in 2 of the 4 discussion strategies of undergraduate psychology majors when controlling for level in program and previous experience with online learning programs. The discussion strategies of Elaboration and Interaction had a significant gender difference. After further analysis, it was determined the covariate of level in program was the significant factor contributing to these results. Understanding how this specific group of students communicates within discussions can lead to positive social change by allowing instructional designers to create more effective online discussions, and such understanding can assist instructors in approaching students in more engaging ways. Students who have better experiences in classroom can become more knowledgeable practitioners.