Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


The number of online courses has increased in recent years which calls into question the presentation format of online learning that is most beneficial for students. The purpose for this study was to measure stress levels as a function of different asynchronous online presentation formats: slides only, slides with audio of a male instructor and slides with video and audio of the same instructor. Temperature, oxygen levels, GSR, blood pressure, heart rate were measured because prior studies have indicated a relation between stress and these physiological variables. Participants (N=27) were randomly assigned to one of three formats. Each format presented information about a fictitious island. Participants were administered a personality assessment, stress survey, and pre-exam. These were followed by the presentation about the island. At the end of the presentation questions about the island were asked (post-exam). The physiological measures were taken after the pre-exam, after the presentation, and after the post-exam. We hypothesized that stress levels would fluctuate throughout the course of the session with peak stress levels occurring prior to the postexam. Repeated measures ANOVAs revealed no significant effects of the presentation formats on the physiological stress measures (p>. 05). We also predicted that the highest stress levels would be achieved during the slides-only format condition. The results did not support this hypothesis either (p>.05). These nonsignificant results could be because of low power. Overall, the results suggest that the type of presentation format used for asynchronous learning does not have a significant impact on student stress.