CAN MULTIPLE WHATSAPP GROUPS REDUCE MESSAGE FLOODING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC PERIOD?
WhatsApp has been favoured by many educators and students as an online learning tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite its’ popularity in educational settings, the flooding of messages on group chats remains a challenge for teachers as well as students. Currently there is a gap in research when it comes to investigating the types of conversations that students have on such groups which is intended for teaching and learning purposes, as well as a possible solution with regard to the flooding of messages. The purpose of this study is to investigate the chats that make up redundant posts that are often experienced on WhatsApp groups as well as to see whether multiple WhatsApp groups for a subject may reduce the flooding of messages. For the purpose of this study, the conversations on WhatsApp of a complete online first-year statistics course at a South African university will be analysed by making use of a WhatsApp chat analyser app, ChatChart. The findings of this study revealed that students flooded groups mostly with university-related matters, for example test dates, learning material, WhatsApp links to other subjects at the university, lecturer information, as well as important information that was posted on the student portal and test marks. The creation of two additional WhatsApp groups reduced message flooding within the content group where subject content was posted, while the other two groups served as a “place” where students were allowed to interact with their statistics lecturer as well as each other to discuss university-related matters.
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