Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Nicholas Bowman

Committee Co-Chair

Alan Goodboy

Committee Member

Alan Goodboy

Committee Member

Elizabeth Cohen

Committee Member

Liesel Sharabi

Committee Member

Andrew Ledbetter


The present set of studies examined media multiplexity theory (MMT; Haythornthwaite, 2005) in the context of student-instructor out-of-class communication (OCC) in two samples: undergraduate and graduate students. It was predicted that student-instructor tie strength (closeness) would lead to a greater number of modes used for OCC, and subsequently, the number of modes used for OCC would predict positive classroom outcomes, including communication satisfaction, cognitive and affective learning, and motivation. It was also predicted that the effect of closeness on the number of modes used for OCC would be moderated by student’s enjoyment of online communication, insofar as it would suppress the amount of modes used to communicate outside the classroom for those students who did not enjoy online communication, or amplify the effects for those students that did enjoy online communication.

Results revealed that for undergraduate students, the number of media used to communicate with one’s instructor indirectly impacted their communication satisfaction, affective and cognitive learning, and motivation, through their feelings of the closeness with their instructor, contrary to the hypothesized model. This effect was strengthened for those students who had greater enjoyment of online communication. For graduate, the same pattern of indirect effects emerged, but enjoyment of online communication had no moderating effect in the graduate student sample. Implications for Media Multiplexity Theory (MMT) and viewing the student-instructor relationship as interpersonal are discussed. Because MMT was supported by the present studies, important conclusions on the nature of the student-instructor relationship, and the subsequent effects of their communication patterns are drawn.