Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Osterhage

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Harrison


Motivation, belonging, and inclusion are all critical factors for student success but can be difficult to support in asynchronous online courses. Active learning and required group work have been shown to increase student motivation in in-person and synchronous online courses, but little is known about their impact in online asynchronous settings. This dissertation aimed to 1) evaluate the effect of active learning on student motivation in an online asynchronous setting and 2) evaluate the impact of assigned group work on student motivation and perceptions of belonging and inclusion within the context of an online, asynchronous physiology laboratory course. It was found that students assigned to group work felt a greater sense of belonging and had higher competence-related beliefs and lower effort and psychological costs associated with the course compared to students not assigned to group work. Inductive coding of open-ended survey questions revealed that students assigned to group work perceived peer interactions as the most inclusive aspect of the course, while students not assigned to groups perceived instructor interactions as the most inclusive aspect.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by the National Science Foundation Grant #2025046 and the Gertrude & Flora Ribble Foundation Pilot Grant and Morgan Fellowship in 2023.