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Article examines how out-of-class support affects students


Adam Jones, associate professor of communication and rhetorical studies at Illinois College, recently co-authored the lead article in the Basic Communication Course Annual, “Students’ Attributions of Instructor Credibility as a Function of Instructors’ Out-Of-Class Support.”

Jones’ article focuses on how instructor out-of-class support (OCS) can affect students’ perceptions of instructor credibility. This would include instructor competence, trustworthiness and caring to name a few.

“OCS represents a form of out-of-class communication that instructors can use to recognize and validate students’ experiences as well as provide informational and/or tangible support to students in order to help them better cope with the external demands and stressors frequently encountered during the college experience,” Jones said.

The purpose of Jones’ research was to examine whether teachers who competently communicate OCS can enhance students’ perceptions of the instructor’s credibility.

“Findings from my investigation indicate that students do in fact attribute more credibility to highly supportive instructors than to instructors who provide only moderate or no messages of support,” Jones said. “The results of this study suggest that college instructors need to be aware that when students come to them for help with a stressful situation, this is not only an opportunity to help students manage their problems but also to increase their own credibility as an instructor.”

In addition to his research, Jones spent much of the 2011-2012 academic year creating and piloting the new Speech Communication Center (SCC) which is housed in the recently renovated Whipple Hall (Room 203). The goal of the SCC is to enhance the oral communication competence and skills of IC students through application of theory to course instruction and individual development. Specifically, Jones designed the SCC to provide students with opportunities to learn by practicing and recording speeches and receiving constructive criticism (both verbal and written feedback) from trained undergraduate Speech Center Advisors. Jones will open the SCC full-time for all IC students during the upcoming academic year.


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