Essay Prompt Questions

College students and professors faced an abrupt change in March 2020 when courses went online for the rest of the spring semester due to COVID-19. Given the massive shift to online courses that is occurring, this essay asks you to apply course concepts related to the “online self” by contrasting in-person (Face to Face – FTF) classes to online classes.
Read the following news articles about online impression management, and then answer the essay prompt questions below.
4 Ways To Make A Good Impression in Online Classes (Links to an external site.)
The Credibility Bookcase (Links to an external site.)

Essay Prompt Questions

Part One: The Interaction Order of Online vs. FTF classes
Goffman (1956, 1973) has described how people negotiate and validate identities in face-to-face encounters. Much of Goffman’s interest is in his analysis of the depth and richness of everyday interaction. However, Goffman published his theories long before the advent of the internet and the various forms of electronic technology we have today. The problem of establishing and maintaining an acceptable self in electronic interaction remains relevant.

Contrast the interaction order of an in-person (FTF) college classroom to an online class by doing the following:
Describe the role expectations of the teacher and the students in online vs. FTF classes.
How do the teachers and the students engage in impression management online vs. FTF classes?
Give an example of an embarrassing interaction that a student might experience in a face to face classroom and contrast that to how embarrassment might occur in an online class. Be sure to identify which of the 3 types of embarrassment categories these interactions fall in.
Contrast how feeling rules and emotion work differ in FTF vs. online classes. Define the terms, and provide one example of each concept in online classes and one example in FTF for each concept.
Tip 1: In this section, be sure to define and provide examples of the following course concepts for both online and FTF classes: impression management, roles (see textbook chapter “Social Structure and the Individual” in Module
1), embarrassing interactions (see types of embarrassment in Module 2 Presentation of Self PowerPoint), feeling
rules,and emotion work.
Tip 2: The examples you give can be from your personal experience or based on your imagination.
Tip 3: You must make connections (through summarizing or providing quotes or examples) from the following assigned readings for this module (Becker, Hochschild, Online Presentation of Self Chapter) as well as the two news
articles linked above.
Part Two: Online Classes and the Digital Self
Explain the four characteristics of the digital self that teenagers come to acquire through interactions with disembodied others in the anonymous online world according to Zhao (2005) and then complete the following
Apply Zhao’s “4 characteristics of the digital self” to the case of online learning.
(a) Explain the positive and negative impact on college students’ self-concept when they take online-only courses.
(b) Does the student’s social status impact whether it is positive or negative experience? Explain.
Consider whether online learning reduces or increases inequality and stigma. How might online courses decrease stigma for some students but increase inequality for others?
Tip 1: In this section, be sure to define and provide examples of the following course concepts: 4 characteristics of the digital self, self-concept, social status, stigma
Tip 2: You must include the Zhao reading and Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk

Finally, conclude your paper with a list of 5 recommendations that you have for students and/or professors regarding impression management and interactions in online courses.
Paper Guidelines:
Papers should be between 4 and 6 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font with one-inch margins. Failure to follow these formatting rules will result in point deductions
You must use definitions from the course PowerPoints or Readings. I recommend reviewing the textbook chapter
“Social Structure and the Individual” in Module 1, the PowerPoints in Modules 2 and 3, and the readings in this
module for acceptable definitions. If you use definitions from the internet that you Googled, you will not get credit.
You are not required to use outside sources, and you do not need a Works Cited/Reference page if only you use
readings and materials from the course. Simply refer to the title of the reading in the text. If you do cite information that you found outside of the Canvas site for this course, you need to include an in-text citation and a full citation at the end of the paper using ASA or APA Style guidelines.

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