Congratulations to Mitchell Shortt — a doctoral student in the Learning Technologies PHD program. He successfully defend his doctoral dissertation entitled “Online Racial Discrimination, the Academic Outcomes, and How Students Defend Themselves“! In his dissertation, Mitch examined the prevalence of online racial discrimination (ORD) among adolescents and young adults, how ORD impacted their academic outcomes, and how they defended themselves from ORD. Thanks to Mitchell’s committee: Kui Xie (advisor), Karen Beard, Tzu-Jung Lin, and Carolyn M. Sommerich (external examiner). Please join us to congratulate Dr. Mitchell Shortt!!!
The impact of online racial discrimination (ORD) for students is an understudied area. This research aims to explore the effects of online racial discrimination on adolescent and young adult students’ academic outcomes and social-emotional well-being with a focus on Black, Asian, and White racial groups. Most adolescents and young adults in the USA have access to smartphones and computers, especially since the 2020 pandemic has seen a shift to digital learning. Instances of racist activities have also been steadily increasing. As such, another objective of this research is to discover ways students defend themselves against ORD. A mixed methods explanatory sequential approach was utilized. First, a survey using the online victimization scale (OVS) was used to collect demographic information, measure the prevalence of ORD, measure social-emotional variables like anxiety and depression, and gauge student experiences with ORD. Then, semi-structured interviews with students and teachers helped explain the survey results and give a voice to participants. Students experienced more vicarious ORD than individual ORD. Those who experienced ORD had troubles with academic persistence and social-emotional well-being. To cope, students would speak with friends before anyone else. The results can inform interventions, as well as counselors, administrators, teachers, and parents regarding ORD. Additionally, since few researchers are specifically investigating ORD, this study might have even greater societal implications by revealing the prevalence of racism for adolescents and young adults in online environments that is over and above in-person racism.