The Role of Non-Verbal Communication in Asynchronous Talk Channels ‎


  • Josiah Zhan Xiong Koh The Open Polytechnic NZ
  • Tara Hulbert The Open Polytechnic NZ



online learning, electronic nonverbal communication, asynchronous talk channels


With the increased adoption of online learning (even greater as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic), online asynchronous discussions have become a mainstay of many online learning platforms. As teachers struggle to communicate and connect with students due to the forced transition online, we can better appreciate the differences between traditional nonverbal communication in a face-to-face environment and that of online nonverbal communication. Because digital literacy underpins the whole online learning experience, and because nonverbal communication (NVC) cues such as body language and paralanguage are not visible in asynchronous text-based online learning, this paper presents the relationship (if any) between electronic nonverbal communication (eNVC) and teaching/social presences and digital literacy, as well as its role in student motivation and engagement. A correlational study was conducted using surveys to gather data from 88 Level 5 Business Area students. The data was analysed using a Pearson’s correlation analysis. The study has found that there is a correlation between eNVC and the social/teaching presence and digital literacy in the asynchronous online discussions, and that eNVC is related to teaching and social presences, but not to digital literacy.

Author Biographies

Josiah Zhan Xiong Koh, The Open Polytechnic NZ

Josiah Koh is a lecturer in business management at Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. He holds a Masters in Enterprise Resource Planning Management from Victoria University. Josiah has substantial teaching experience, having taught courses in the areas of business management, statistics, business computing and operations management. His research interests include teaching and learning, artificial intelligence in education, online communication, and online learning.

Tara Hulbert, The Open Polytechnic NZ

Tara Hulbert has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin (Whitewater)
(Marketing/Communications) and a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)(Communication). She has taught at the university level for over 20 years in the United States and New Zealand in the area of Business, Marketing and Communication. Tara is passionate about helping others to use effective applied communication practices across industries and settings. Most recently, Tara has applied her knowledge to digital work in online learning, social media, and digital marketing. You can find her online at @kiwiamericans.

Images of Hulbert and Koh