Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Communication Studies and Theatre

First Advisor

Joshua Westwick


engineering education, engineering students, immediacy, instructional communication, motivation, self-determination


Instructor immediacy is an essential characteristic of effective instructors. Although instructional communication has done extensive research on the impact of immediacy behaviors on students, there is little available research observing immediacy behaviors as predictors of motivation on engineering students. As a result, this study examined the impact of engineering instructors’ use of immediacy behaviors on engineering students’ motivation. The results indicated that verbal immediacy predicted engineering student motivation. The thematic analysis revealed that when students perceived their instructors as helpful, students’ motivation to learn and ask more questions increased. The thematic analysis also observed that when instructors seemed unapproachable, students were less likely to engage with them. These findings present valuable insight for engineering educators on how their immediacy behaviors can both positively and negative affect student motivation and possible retention.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Engineering -- Study and teaching (Higher)
Achievement motivation.
Communication in education.
Teacher-student relationships.
Motivation in education.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 74-86)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright