, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 323-346
Date: 29 Apr 2008

Social presence in online discussion groups: testing three conceptions and their relations to perceived learning

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The correlation between three conceptions of social presence (seen as 1. a subjective quality of a medium that determines the quality of the communication and perception of others, 2. self-projection onto the group, and 3. identification with the group) and different aspects of perceived learning in online discussion groups were tested. Six hundreds and fifty nine students completed a web-based questionnaire that was distributed via 50 course Websites. Self projection, perception of others and identification with the group correlated positively with each other. They also correlated positively with most aspects of perceived learning. The subjective quality of the medium did not correlate with these conceptions and also did not correlate with any aspects of perceived learning. Thus, social presence may afford learning by setting a convenient climate. Alternatively, it may contribute only to the socioemotional source of perceived learning while leaving cognitive source unaffected.