Understanding and supporting college students' help-seeking behavior
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Asking for help is a fundamental strategy that learners use to overcome barriers to learning in any context. The positive effects of help-seeking on student learning and achievement have been widely acknowledged. Help-seeking has gained further attention with the emergence of new blended instructional models that embrace student-centered approaches and place a greater responsibility on students. Among these emerging blended approaches, the flipped classroom model has been very popular in last years. The flipped classroom model requires students to independently study the instructional materials and various learning resources (e.g., video lectures) outside the classroom and develop a sufficient understanding of the concepts. While studying the assigned materials themselves, students may face various learning difficulties that can be resolved with the support of class members at any time, and in this way, they can become prepared for the upcoming in-class activities. Therefore, help-seeking is an essential activity for student learning in flipped classrooms. This dissertation research focuses on college students’ help-seeking behavior in a large-enrollment flipped science classroom over several semesters and aims to expand the current understanding of online help-seeking in several directions. The first manuscript (Chapter 2) provides a detailed description of initial design and evolution of a web-based help-seeking tool (EchoLu). The second manuscript (Chapter 3) reports on an empirical study that uses a mediation structural equation model to investigate the effects of motivational and environmental factors on help-seeking. The fourth manuscript (Chapter 4) delineates the main study of this dissertation which investigates the role of instructors in help-seeking. Besides exploring the causal links between instructor-related factors and students’ help-seeking perceptions and intentions, this study also examines the extent to which students’ perceptions are influenced by instructor participation in students’ online help-seeking. The findings suggest a substantial influence of instructors on help-seeking. In particular, their relatedness with students, their support for help-seeking, and the goal structure that they promote in the classroom are strongly associated with students’ help-seeking perceptions and intentions. The findings also suggest a possible influence of instructor participation in online help-seeking environments. The implications and future research directions are discussed at the end (Chapter 5).