Advertisement

A model for social presence in online classrooms

  • Chun-Wang Wei
  • Nian-Shing Chen
  • Kinshuk
Development Article

Abstract

It is now possible to create flexible learning environments without time and distance barriers on the internet. However, research has shown that learners typically experience isolation and alienation in online learning environments. These negative experiences can be reduced by enhancing social presence. In order to better facilitate the perceived social presence in online classrooms, this study presents a framework developed from the social cognitive theory for investigating social presence and its relationships with relevant factors. An instrument with sufficient reliability and validity was developed to measure these factors. A formal questionnaire-based survey was carried out among learners with previous learning experiences in online learning environments. A total of 522 valid samples were collected from three schools and analyzed using structural equation modeling to examine the proposed framework and hypotheses. The results show that user interface and social cues have significant effects on social presence. User interface also has significant effects on social cues. Moreover, this study evidenced that social presence has significant effects on learning interaction which in turn has significant effects on learning performance. Finally, implications of the findings were discussed for further research directions and practical applications.

Keywords

Online learning Online classroom Social presence Learner interaction Social cognitive theory 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the National Science Council, Taiwan under the contract numbers: NSC101-2917-I-110-001, NSC100-2511-S-110-001-MY3, NSC100-2631-S-011-003, and NSC100-2511-S-269-001. The authors also acknowledge the support of NSERC, iCORE, Xerox, and the research-related gift funding by Mr. A. Markin.

References

  1. Allmendinger, K. (2010). Social presence in synchronous virtual learning situations: the role of nonverbal signals displayed by avatars. Educational Psychology Review, 22(1), 41–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arbaugh, J. B., & Benbunan-Fich, R. (2007). The importance of participant interaction in online environments. Decision Support Systems, 43(3), 853–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Beaudoin, M. F. (2002). Learning or lurking? Tracking the “invisible” online student. The Internet and Higher Education, 5(2), 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bente, G., Ruggenberg, S., Kramer, N. C., & Eschenburg, F. (2008). Avatar-mediated networking: increasing social presence and interpersonal trust in net-based collaborations. Human Communication Research, 34(2), 287–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Biocca, F., Harms, C., Burgoon, J. K. (2003). Toward a more robust theory and measure of social presence: review and suggested criteria. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 12(5), 456–480.Google Scholar
  7. Bolliger, D. U. (2004). Key factors for determining student satisfaction in online courses. International Journal on E-Learning, 3(1), 61–67.Google Scholar
  8. Chang, H. H., & Wang, I. C. (2008). An investigation of user communication behavior in computer mediated environments. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), 2336–2356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, G., & Chiu, M. M. (2008). Online discussion processes: effects of earlier messages’ evaluations, knowledge content, social cues and personal information on later messages. Computers and Education, 50(3), 678–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, N. S., Kinshuk, Wei, C. W., & Liu, C. C. (2011). Effects of matching teaching strategy to thinking style on learner’s quality of reflection in an online learning environment. Computers and Education, 56(1), 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, N. S., Kinshuk, Wei, C. W., & Yang, S. J. H. (2008). Designing a self-contained group area network for ubiquitous learning. Educational Technology and Society, 11(2), 16–26.Google Scholar
  12. Chen, N. S., Wei, C. W., Wu, K. T., & Uden, L. (2009). Effects of high level prompts and peer assessment on online learners’ reflection levels. Computers and Education, 52(2), 283–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cho, Y. S., & Proctor, R. W. (2001). Effect of an initiating action on the up-right/down-left advantage for vertically arrayed stimuli and horizontally arrayed responses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27(2), 472–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chou, C. E., Peng, H. Y., & Chang, C. Y. (2010). The technical framework of interactive functions for course-management systems: students’ perceptions, uses, and evaluations. Computers and Education, 55(3), 1004–1017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cronbach, L. J. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 16(3), 297–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H. (1986). Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design. Management Science, 32(5), 554–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Entwistle, N., & Waterston, S. (1988). Approaches to studying and levels of processing in university students. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 58(3), 258–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ferguson, R. (2010). Peer interaction: the experience of distance students at university level. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(6), 574–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error: algebra and statistics. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(3), 382–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.Google Scholar
  21. Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2010a). The first decade of the community of inquiry framework: a retrospective. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1–2), 5–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Fung, T. S. (2010b). Exploring causal relationships among teaching, cognitive and social presence: student perceptions of the community of inquiry framework. Internet and Higher Education, 13(1–2), 31–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gunawardena, C. N., & Zittle, F. J. (1997). Social presence as a predictor of satisfaction within a computer-mediated conferencing environment. The American Journal of Distance Education, 11(3), 8–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B., Anderson, R., & Tatham, R. (2006). Multivariate data analysis (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  25. Jin, S. A. A. (2010). Parasocial interaction with an avatar in second life: a typology of the self and an empirical test of the mediating role of social presence. Presence-Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 19(4), 331–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jung, I., Choi, S., Lim, C., & Leem, J. (2002). Effects of different types of interaction on learning achievement, satisfaction and participation in web-based instruction. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 39(2), 153–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ke, F. F. (2010). Examining online teaching, cognitive, and social presence for adult students. Computers and Education, 55(2), 808–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kerlinger, F. N., Lee, H. B. (2000). Foundations of behavioral research (4th Edn.). Thomson Learning, Belmont.Google Scholar
  29. Kirschner, P., Strijbos, J., Kreijns, K., & Beers, P. J. (2004). Designing electronic collaborative learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(3), 47–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Offir, B., & Lev, J. (2000). Constructing an aid for evaluating teacher-learner interaction in distance learning. Educational Media International, 37(2), 91–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Offir, B., Lev, Y., & Bezalel, R. (2008). Surface and deep learning processes in distance education: synchronous versus asynchronous systems. Computers and Education, 51(3), 1172–1183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Raykov, T. (1997). Estimation of composite reliability for congeneric measures. Applied Psychological Measurement, 21(2), 173–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rovai, A. P. (2007). Facilitating online discussions effectively. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(1), 77–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Short, J., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). The social psychology of telecommunications. London: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  35. Sternberg, R. J. (1997). Construct validation of a triangular love scale. European Journal of Social Psychology, 27(3), 313–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thurlow, C., Lengel, L. B., & Tomic, A. (2004). Computer mediated communication: Social interaction and the Internet. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Traphagan, T., Kucsera, J. V., & Kishi, K. (2010). Impact of class lecture webcasting on attendance and learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 58(1), 19–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tu, C. H. (2000). On-line learning migration: from social learning theory to social presence theory in a CMC environment. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, 23(1), 27–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tu, C. H., & McIsaac, M. S. (2002). The relationship of social presence and interaction in online classes. The American Journal of Distance Education, 16(3), 131–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tutty, J. I., & Klein, J. D. (2008). Computer-mediated instruction: a comparison of online and face-to-face collaboration. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(2), 101–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wang, Y. S. (2003). Assessment of learner satisfaction with asynchronous electronic learning systems. Information and Management, 41(1), 75–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wei, C. W., Hung, I. C., Lee, L., & Chen, N. S. (2011). A joyful classroom learning system with robot learning companion for children to learn mathematics multiplication. The Turkish Online Journal of Education Technology, 10(2), 11–23.Google Scholar
  43. Weinel, M., Bannert, M., Zumbach, J., Hoppe, H. U., & Malzahn, N. (2011). A closer look on social presence as a causing factor in computer-mediated collaboration. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(1), 513–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Whipp, J. L., & Lorentz, R. A. (2009). Cognitive and social help giving in online teaching: an exploratory study. Educational Technology Research and Development, 57(2), 169–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yoon, S. W., & Johnson, S. D. (2008). Phases and patterns of group development in virtual learning teams. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(5/6), 595–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zhang, Q., & Oetzel, J. G. (2006). Constructing and validating a teacher immediacy scale: a Chinese perspective. Communication Education, 55(2), 218–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zhao, S. Y. (2003). Toward a taxonomy of copresence. Presence-Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 12(5), 445–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management Information SystemFar East UniversityTainan CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Information ManagementNational Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  3. 3.School of Computing and Information SystemAthabasca UniversityAthabascaCanada

Personalised recommendations