Online social interaction, Web 2.0 and social presence: A case study
Daniel Henry Becker, Northern Arizona University, United States
Northern Arizona University . Awarded
The nature of learner social presence in an online learning environment that utilizes Web 2.0 tools to support social interactions was examined through the use of case study. Social presence is vital in establishing learners' sense of belonging and social cohesion within a group. Social presence is defined as the extent to which students in online classes perceive other students in the class as being real people. Situations where participants actively observe and interpret the actions of others are examples of social interactions. These interactions occurred through active participation when students work together and are by nature dynamic and constantly changing. Understandings concerning social presence are valuable to online instructors, as social presence has been linked with increases in student satisfaction and learning.
Data from archival documents, discussion board posts, a questionnaire, public communications via Web 2.0 tools and interviews were coded, categorized and analyzed by the researcher. Findings suggest that this class functioned well as an Open Networked Learning Environment and provided ample opportunities for students to explore emerging Web 2.0 tools while using the tools to interact socially.
The instructor created, through reflection, an environment where students were challenged to develop lasting understandings collectively as a community of learners that itself continues to learn. This class provided an example of how social interaction, through the use of Web 2.0 tools, can be effective and meaningful in the online environment. Results of this study will be of interest to instructors who are using or plan to use Web 2.0 tools within an Open Networked Learning Environment.
Becker, D.H. Online social interaction, Web 2.0 and social presence: A case study. Ph.D. thesis, Northern Arizona University.
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