As of the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing briefly usurped face-to-face as the primary medium of communication for education and professional settings. Even now in 2022 as the impact of the pandemic begins to be felt less, video conferencing remains an integrated part of educational settings, with Zoom being the most prominent video conferencing application in education. This study used expectancy violations theory to explore both the behavioral expectations students have of their instructors on Zoom, as well as what instructors themselves believe their students' expectations to be when on Zoom. This paper explores both the general expectations held by students, as well as their expectations regarding instructor competency, investment, and attitude. The findings of this qualitative study indicate that student expectations of instructors when on Zoom differ very little from expectations they hold for instructors when in-person, but that it is more important that those expectations be met for the student to evaluate their instructor positively when online. Student opinions also indicated that they hold a more negative opinion of learning through video conferencing in general when compared to in-person, and that on Zoom it is both easier for mistakes to be made by instructors and that they perceive mistakes to be more disruptive when on Zoom. Instructors' beliefs about student expectations were accurate to actual held student expectations when they were also ones held by students in-person, but instructors experienced pervasive uncertainty about student expectations when those expectations were changed or created with the new medium.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

College students--Attitudes; Expectation (Psychology); Teacher effectiveness--Public opinion; Web-based instruction--Public opinion; Videoconferencing--Public opinion; Zoom (Electronic resource)--Public opinion

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)


Nickesia Gordon

Advisor/Committee Member

Grant Cos

Advisor/Committee Member

Eun Sook Kwon


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes