An examination of social presence to increase interaction in online classes
Chih-Hsiung Tu, Arizona State University, United States
Arizona State University . Awarded
Social presence, one of the most critical factors in technology-based learning, was not originally examined to explain learning in the computer environment. It was initially studied in face-to-face, audio and closed-circuit television encounters. However, it has recently been found that in order to increase the level of online interaction, the degree of social presence must be increased. Previous studies have defined social presence as the degree of person-to-person awareness. This is not a clear definition of social presence as used in the mediated classroom. The purpose of this study was to redefine social learning theory for the online learning environment. Three dimensions of social presence and the privacy factor were examined in this study through the use of quantitative and qualitative methods to redefine social presence theory. Three dimensions of social presence—social context, online communication and interactivity—emerged with the privacy factor playing an important part. However, the privacy factor did not correlate with social presence theory. Further studies should be done to examine risk-taking behaviors in computer-mediated communication (CMC). Social presence in the online environment was found to be the degree of feeling, perception and reaction of being connected to another intellectual entity through a text-based encounter using CMC. An increase in the level of online interaction occurs with an ideal level of social presence, which must be fostered through a better understanding of the learners, selecting the appropriate CMC medium, and applying appropriate instructional engagement.
Tu, C.H. An examination of social presence to increase interaction in online classes. Ph.D. thesis, Arizona State University.
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