Session 3- Media Richness

  1. Explain Media Richness in your own words.

In education, Media Richness refers to how effective the telecommunications medium an instructor uses is in relaying the necessary messages.

  1. What are the four criteria used to judge Media Richness?

In this week’s study notes/podcast, Dr. Newberry listed four criteria to judge Media Richness:

  • Availability of instant feedback
  • The capacity of the medium to transmit cues such as facial expression, body language and tone of voice
  • Ability of the medium to permit the communicator to use natural language
  • The personal focus of the medium.
  1. Choose 4 or 5 technologies you might use in an online class and rate them on the four criteria. Using these ratings suggest some eLearning activity that might or might not be appropriate for each technology you rate. Explain your reasons.

Email- If I were to use the four criteria that Dr. Newberry listed, e-mail covers three out of four categories. An instructor could send a message relaying information about learning material or grades and the student would get that message instantly. It is personalized and provides an open source for instant feedback and the use of natural language. What is missing is the capacity to transmit facial expression, body language and tone of voice.

Video Podcast- A video podcast would be an excellent medium to provide a lesson to online learners. It would capture the instructor’s body language, tone, and facial expressions. The instructor could use natural language, and there is a sense of personal focus through a recorded video message. I am not quite sure how instant feedback would be possible. Video podcasts would best be used in situations where feedback isn’t a necessary component. For instance, I would use a video podcast to teach a lesson and model examples if I were teaching an online math course.

Audio Podcast- I would use an audio podcast in the same manner that one would use video podcast. The downside would be that the instructor’s natural language would be lacking because when recording, the voice tends to sound monotone or robotic because the instructor is reading from a script. Another piece that would be lacking would be instant feedback. The use of an audio podcast would be similar to the video podcast, in situations that do not require much feedback or two-way communication. I would use an audio podcast to deliver instructions on a project or notes about content area. One aspect of this course that I appreciate is that Dr. Newberry includes the written script with the podcast he shares with us. This provides multiple methods of accessing information for our course, thus reaching multiple types of learners.

Video Chat (SKYPE)- This media is extremely rich, scoring a four out of four using the categories to measure media richness. Since the video chat is occurring in real time, facial expression and tone of voice are transmitted. A video chat allows both the instructor and student to participate in two-way communication effectively using a natural tone.

  1. Explain Social Presence in your own words.

Social Presence is how active a student is within the Community of Inquiry. It is subjective to the learner and the instructor based on previous experiences and class expectations.

  1. Explain the difference between Social Presence and Media Richness.

According to the Randy Garrison in E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice, the function of social presence is to “support inquiry and the achievement of specific learning outcomes” (Garrison, 2011, p.31). Much of the research in the area of social presence is focused on the social-emotional states of online learners and what active social presence looks like. Social presence is mostly concerned with the community of inquiry and collaboration with others, while media richness is concerned with the communication medium that an instructor chooses to use in a course.

  1. Provide some Issues or Trends in eLearning that you are interested in pursuing for your annotated bibliography. Remember, the annotated bibliography is NOT due this session!

Last quarter, I began using blogging as a means of getting my students to practice reflective learning. For this quarter, I would like to learn about motivation and engagement strategies for younger students when it comes to eLearning and blogging. I have found that students are making very superficial comments to one another, if they are commenting at all. There is also the issue of students not posting at all. I know a large part of that is the lack of technology at home and the lack of time to complete blogs in the classroom. However, there are many students who do have the technology, yet are not participating in their blog assignments even though it is graded.

  1. Possible articles for Annotated Bibliography.

Morrison, D. (n.d.). 3 Reasons Students Don’t Participate in Online Discussions. Retrieved from

Since my focus will be on finding strategies to keep my students engaged and motivated in blogging, I thought an article about why students do not participate would be valuable. It is important to find examples and nonexamples of what I want to see happen in my own class, so I think this article will provide some helpful feedback.

Ripp, P. (2013, June 2). Get Your Students Blogging! Retrieved February 2, 2015, from

I skimmed through this article and found that it was interesting the author also uses kidblog as their class blogging platform. There were some suggestions on how to give students that sense of ownership of their blogs, which results in high participation.

Waters, S. (2014, August 28). Step 4: Teach Quality Commenting Skills. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from

Another area of focus is teaching my students to use deeper, higher quality comments when addressing one another. I find that many students are writing “good job” or “I agree” and not attaching anything else that is useful to the original poster. I though edublog would be a rich source of information on how to assist me in guiding my students to deeper and more reflective comments and posts.



About Margarita

This is my second year as a graduate student at CSUSB. I have taught in the Riverside Unified School District for eleven years. The Instructional Technology program has been extremely beneficial to my professional development as it has helped me use innovative ways in providing instruction an support to my sixth graders.
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10 Responses to Session 3- Media Richness

  1. ngl8on says:

    Hi Margarita
    You are really taking what you are learning in grad school, and immediately applying it into the classroom. That is great for you, and your students to get it so quickly. You, like us, find that not students have access to the technology, that so many people have. I get so tired of hearing “Everyone has…” when it comes to the latest tech app, gadget, phone, etc out there. Many of my college student also have no access to a computer at home. It is hard for them to do there homework outside of class. We are at least able to help expose them to these valuable tools in our classes.



    • Margarita says:

      Hi Nita,
      Thank you for your comment. I do try to implement bits and pieces of what I have learned throughout my coursework. However, I am teaching in a traditional classroom and like you said, not everyone has technology readily available outside of the school walls. That is why I minimize the amount of online assignments for my students or I limit assignments to only classwork for the time being.


  2. gcaudill says:

    Hi Margarita,
    I’ll be interested to see what you find about motivating students to participate on their blogs, especially since we have quite a few sixth graders who feel that it’s okay to opt-out of their work!


  3. edtechy says:

    It is interesting that you give email such a high ranking on immediate feedback. I would place it lower because it is asynchronous. I like your topics, but you might want to be a little less specific and think more in terms of ways to get students to engage more fully in course interactions. This would include the blog comments but also let you see if you can find ideas from other topics to try to adapt for your purposes.


    • Margarita says:

      Hi Dr. Newberry,
      I actually would consider email to be almost synchronous, but that is just because I have access to my email on my mobile device and am able to respond fairly quickly. I do understand that there are many who do not use email as frequently as I do, so I could see why it not necessarily an example of effective or timely feedback. After processing your comment from last week and reading the material from this week, I would like to explore Assistive Technology trends in eLearning for the visually impaired. I was also looking at some research on reducing the cost of high quality education such as Penn State did when they opened up online courses to distance learners. Both are so interesting so I need some help deciding between the two. I think the one that would be relevant to me as a sixth grade classroom teacher is the Assistive technology trends. What do you think?


  4. Earl Wilson says:

    Hi Margarita,

    I was intrigued by your efforts to get your students involved blogging as well. Do you think that students in older grades would be more motivated or inclined to participate effectively? To me, blogging requires a combination of skill-sets where you have to be able to both express your thoughts in an organized fashion and at the same time be able to read and write clearly. If you can get your students to connect with blogging I think it will have a very positive influence on their overall educational growth and development.

    All the best,



    • Margarita says:

      Hi Earl,
      I see what you are saying about blogging requiring a combination of skill sets. I don’t hold students accountable for writing mechanics in their blogs because I really want them to get their ideas down. However, I believe through the blogging assignments, students are seeing examples of good writing, at least through my comments! That will help build their skills as well. I am finding that students just aren’t connecting to the Social Studies material so I need to maybe limit the amount of blog posts related to that topic or develop better prompts!


  5. Hi Margarita,
    I am surprised to hear that 6th graders aren’t citing examples to support their opinion of “good job”. Perhaps, they need more structure like sentence frames. Maybe, you can increase motivation if one student writes a great response and you show the rest of the class a model of what you expect a great response to look like. Perhaps, some unexpected reward will make them motivated. Maybe, you want to incorporate sentence frames to help.


    • Margarita says:

      Hi Guillermina,
      I think you are on the right track with your advice of providing some scaffolding such as sentence frames for the sixth graders. I like to provide avenues for my students to be creative and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to integrate blogging, but, some students do need that structure as a starting point.


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