social
presence
community of inquiry model
SOCIAL
PRESENCE
COGNITIVE
PRESENCE
EDUCATIONAL
EXPERIENCE
TEACHING PRESENCE
(Rourke, Anderson, Garrison
& Archer, 2001)
social presence


the degree to which participants in computer
mediated communication feel socially and
emotionally connected
the ability of learners to project themselves
socially and affectively into an online community
of inquiry
research to date

social presence can be (strongly) felt by
participants in computer-mediated
communication
(Walther, 1994; Gunawardena & Zittle, 1997; Tu & McIsaac,
2002)

and projected into text-based asynchronous
discussion using verbal immediacy indicators
alone
(Rourke, Anderson, Garrison & Archer, 2001; Swan, 2002;
2003)
research to date

perceptions of social presence are linked to
student satisfaction in online courses
(Gunawardena, Lowe & Anderson,1997; Tu, 2002;
Richardson & Swan, 2003)

and to (perceived) learning from them
(Walther, 1994; Gunawardena, 1995; Picciano, 2002)
research to date

use of immediacy (social presence) indicators
changes over time
(Swan, 2002, 2003; Vaughn & Garrison, in press)

and social presence perceived may differ
among participants from differing cultures
(Teng & Swan, 2006)
On the Nature and Development
of Social Presence
in Online Course Discussions
Karen Swan, Kent State University
LiFang Shih, Excelsior College
(JALN, 2005)
research questions




What factors influence perceptions of social presence?
What is the relationship between student perceptions of
social presence (instructors and peers) and their
perceived learning, instructor satisfaction & interaction
in online discussion?
How do students perceiving differing levels of social
presence project themselves into online discussion?
How do students perceiving differing levels of social
presence conceptualize online discussion?
subjects & setting

54 (/94) graduate education students enrolled in
4 classes complete online survey (2/3 female;
2/3 with online experience; ages 21-50)
MM
Instructor A
Instructor B
CE
online survey


demographic & experiential information
respondents asked to rate agreement with
statements (1-5 Likert scale) concerning:





perceived presence of peers (8)
perceived presence of instructor (5)
satisfaction with instructor (1)
perceived learning (4)
perceived interaction (1)
quantitative analyses



analysis of variance to explore differences
related to demographic & experiential variables
correlational & regression analysis of
relationships between variables
partial correlations to tease apart influence of
social presence of peers from that of instructors
results
analysis of variance reveals significant differences
between courses (but not classes or instructors)
only differences between groupings by student
characteristics related to age (and not gender,
online experience, time spent in course)
results
all variables highly correlated
SPP
SPI
PL
social pres. of peers
(SPP)
social pres. of inst. (SPI)
.70*
perceived learning (PL)
.70*
.74*
perceived interaction (PI)
.62*
.50*
.55*
satisfaction w/ inst. (SI)
.56*
.81*
.74*
PI
.41*
*p<.005
results
partial correlations show differing contributions of
instructors & peers
partial
correlations
with
perceived
learning
partial
correlations
with
perceived
interaction
partial
correlations
with
instructor
satisfaction
perceived
presence of
peers
.36**
.44*
-.03
perceived
presence of
instructors
.49*
.10
.71*
*p<.005; **p<.05
qualitative analyses


content analysis of selected subjects’ use of
social presence indicators in discussion
postings using Swan’s (2002, 2003) coding
protocols & Rourke, et al.’s (2001) social
presence density index
structured interviews of selected subjects via
email and phone analyzed using thematic crosscase analysis
subjects & setting

5 subjects with the highest combined social
presence ratings & 5 with the lowest combined
social presence ratings were identified for
qualitative analyses
results
low SP group
high SP group
affective
interactive
cohesive
total
17.5
26.3
6.7
10.0
4.4
6.0
28.6
42.3
quantitative content analysis reveals meaningful
differences in social presence densities between
subjects perceiving the most & least presence
results
perc.
learning
perc.
interaction
perc. SP
of insts
instructor
satisf
low SP group
3.2
3.0
3.7
4.0
high SP group
4.8
5.0
4.9
5.0
quantitative comparison reveals meaningful
differences in perceptions between subjects
perceiving the most & least presence
results
thematic content analyses

all students reported changing communication
styles to adjust to asynchronous format, but
while high social presence subjects adopted a
more conversational style, low social presence
subjects adopted a more formal style
results
thematic content analyses

all students reported learning from discussions,
but while high presence group believed they
learned from others’ postings, low presence
group thought they learned solely by articulating
their own ideas
student perceiving high social presence
“When I first read and responded to a discussion
question I felt that I had written all that I could on the
subject. After reading other people’s comments on the
same question, I was able to take in different viewpoints
and see if it was something that I agreed with or totally
disagreed with. Without class discussions I would have
never thought twice about the question that I had just
answered.”
student perceiving low social presence
“Some of the responses I read led me to believe that
some of the students in the class were either ignorant
about the subject matter, or too stubborn in their way of
thinking to take the class content seriously.”
results
thematic content analyses

all students appreciated being asked to relate
course concepts to personal experience, but
only high presence group reported learning from
others’ experiences
student perceiving high social presence
“You can learn a lot from people who offer to tell of their
personal experiences and often you can get a person
that may have had that experience themselves and
offer to share their version. Since you are not seeing the
people you are interacting with, there has to be a way to
make the online experience personable and enjoyable.”
student perceiving low social presence
“In class, you know, people come to class so that you
could see who is there and who is not, whereas online it
was not the case because you couldn't see their faces. I
couldn't put any names with any of them, and
sometimes, you know, there were two people who had
the same names and it was difficult to tell who was
who.”
conclusions


course design can affect development of social
presence
age might also be a factor
conclusions



social presence may be more important to
student perceptions (learning, satisfaction) of
satisfaction than interactivity
social presence of students and social presence
of instructors are different constructs which
differentially influence student perceptions
social presence of instructors may be more
important to learning than social presence of
peers
conclusions


perceptions of presence are linked to its
presentation
students with differing perceptions of social
presence have different conceptions of online
discussion
Research
Center for
Educational
Technology
[email protected]
references
Gunawardena, C. (1995). Social presence theory and implications for
interaction and collaborative learning in computer conferences. International
Journal of Educational Telecommunications, 1(2/3), 147-166.
Gunawardena, C., Lowe, C. A. & Anderson, T. (1997). Analysis of a global
online debate and the development of an interaction analysis model for
examining social construction of knowledge in computer conference. Journal of
Educational Computing Research, 17 (4), 397-431.
Gunawardena, C. & Zittle, F. (1997). Social presence as a predictor of
satisfaction within a computer mediated conferencing environment. American
Journal of Distance Education, 11(3), 8-26.
Picciano, A. G. (2002). Beyond student perceptions: Issues of interaction,
presence and performance in an online course. Journal of Asynchronous
Learning Networks, 6(1).
references
Richardson, J. & Swan, K. (2003). Examining social presence in online
courses in relation to students' perceived learning and satisfaction. Journal of
Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7 (1), 68-88.
Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, D. R. & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing
social presence in asynchronous text-based computer conferencing. Journal of
Distance Education, 14, (2).
Swan, K. (2002). Building communities in online courses: the importance of
interaction. Education, Communication and Information, 2(1), 23-49.
Swan, K. (2003). Developing social presence in online discussions. In S.
Naidu (Ed), Learning and Teaching with Technology: Principles and
Practices. London: Kogan Page, 147-164.
Swan, K. & Shih, L-F. (2005). On the nature and development of social
presence in online course Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 9 (3),
115-136.
references
Teng, Y. & Swan, K. (2006). Comparisons of students’ perception of social
presence in online discussion between majority and minority groups. Paper
presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research
Association, San Francisco.
Tu, C. H. (2000). On-line learning migration: From social learning theory to
social presence theory in CMC environment. Journal of Network and
Computer Applications, 23(1), 27–37.
Tu, C-H. & McIsaac, M. (2002). The relationship of social presence and interaction
in online classes. The American Journal of Distance Education, 16(3), 131–150.
Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D. R. (in press). How blended learning can support a
faculty development community of inquiry. Journal of Asynchronous Learning
Networks.
Walther, J. (1994). Interpersonal effects in computer mediated interaction.
Communication Research, 21, (4), 460-487.
SOCIAL PRESENCE OF PEERS
1. Online or web-based education is an excellent medium
for social interaction.
2. I felt comfortable conversing through this medium.
3. The “Meet Your Classmates” section enabled me to form
a sense of online community.
4. I felt comfortable participating in course discussions.
5. I felt comfortable interacting with other participants in the
course.
6. I felt that other participants in the course acknowledged
my point of view.
7. I was able to form distinct individual impressions of some
course participants.
8. Online discussions enabled me to form a sense of
community.
SOCIAL PRESENCE OF INSTRUCTORS
9. The instructor created a feeling of online community.
10. The instructor facilitated discussions in the course.
11. I was able to form distinct individual impressions of the
instructor in this course.
12. I felt comfortable conversing with the instructor through
this medium.
13. My point of view was acknowledged by the instructor.
INSTRUCTOR SATISFACTION
14. The instructor in this course met my expectations.
PERCEIVED LEARNING
15. I was able to learn from the online discussions.
16. I was stimulated to do additional reading or research on
topics discussed in the online discussions.
17. Participating in the online discussions was a useful
experience.
18. Participating in the online discussions enabled me to
form multiple perspectives.
PERCEIVED INTERACTIVITY
19. I thought there was a great deal of interaction in the
online discussions.
features of text outside
paralanguage formal syntax used to
(PL) convey emotion (eg.
emoticons, punctuation)
emotion use of descriptive
(EM) words that indicate
feelings (ie., love, hate,
sad, silly, etc.)
value expressing personal
(VL) values beliefs, &
attitudes
humor use of humor – teasing,
(H) cajoling, irony, sarcasm
self- sharing personal
disclosure information, expressing
(SD) vulnerability
Someday . . . . .; How awful
for you :-( ; Mathcad is
definitely NOT stand alone
software; Absolutely!!!!!!
Asteroff,
1985; Poole,
2000; Rourke,
2001
When I make a spelling
mistake, I look and feel
stupid; I get chills when I
think of. . .
emergent
I think that commercialization
is a necessary evil; I feel our
children have the same rights
emergent
God forbid leaving your house Gorham,
to go to the library; Now it is 1988; Poole,
like brushing my teeth (which 2000
I assure you I do quite well)
I sound like an old lady; I am
a closet writer; We had a
similar problem. . .
AFFECTIVE INDICATORS
Gorham,
1988; Rourke,
1999
greetings & greetings, closures
salutations
(GS)
Hi Mary; That’s it for now, Poole, 2000; Rourke,
Tom
2001
vocatives addressing
(V) classmates by name
You know, Tamara. . . ; I
totally agree with you
Katherine
Christenson & Menzel,
1988; Poole, 2000
group refering to the group
reference as we, us, our
(GR)
We need to be educated;
Our use of the Internet
may not be free
Gorham, 1988;
Rourke, 2001
social sharing information
sharing unrelated to the
(SS) course
Happy Birthday!!to both
of you!!!
Bussman, 1998;
Rourke, 2001
A good example was the
CD-ROM we read about
emergent
course reflection on the
reflection course itself
(RF)
COHESIVE INDICATORS
refering directly to
acknowledge- the contents of
ment (AK) others’ messages;
quoting
Those old machines sure were Rourke, 2001
something!; I agree that it is
the quickest way
agreement/ expressing
disagreement agreement or
(AG) disagreement with
I’m with you on that; I agree;
I think what you are saying is
absolutely right
Poole, 2000;
Rourke, 2001
others’ messages
approval expressing approval, You make a good point; Good
luck as you continue to learn;
(AP) offering praise,
Right on!
encouragement
invitation asking questions or
(I) otherwise inviting
response
personal advice offering specific
(PA) advice to
classmates
Any suggestions?; How old
are your students?; Would
you describe that for me
Rourke, 2001
Gorham,
1988; Rourke,
2001
Also the CEC website might
emergent
have some references; I would
be happy to forward them
INTERACTIVE INDICATORS
STRUCTURED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
What did you think about when you were preparing to post a message
to the course discussion? Did you think about how you would sound
to others? Did you think about how what you say would influence
how others think of you?
Did you use any strategies to put “personal” touches in your
messages? If so, why did you want to make yourself sound more
personal in online discussions?
How did the ways other students wrote their messages influence your
impressions of them? Did others’ language use influence that of
yours? If so, how?
What did you think about when you were responding to others’
messages?
Did you chose certain people to respond to? Have you built a sense of
bonding with those students?
Do you think a sense of bonding is important to learning in
asynchronous learning environments? Why or why not?
What were the criteria you used while choosing which messages to
respond to?
What are your impressions of your instructor? How were these
impressions formed?
From my observation of the online class discussions, I noticed that your
instructor encouraged you to refer to your personal experiences
while answering most of the questions? What do you think about
this? Do you think this made the discussions more personal?
Did your instructor's style of writing influence the way you constructed
your messages in the class? If so, how?
Did you notice that your instructor did not often participate in the class
discussions? What do you think about this? Do you think they nonethe-less facilitated the class discussions? If so, how?
Would you prefer your instructor to participate in discussions publicly
instead of giving private personal feedback to your postings? Why or
why not?
Do you think it is important that you have regular and personal
interaction with your instructor? Why or why not?
As the tone of your voice is not available in the online environment, did
you find it as a big constraint when communicating with your peers?
If so, what did you do to overcome the constraints?
responses & indicators X module
300
246
250
frequencies
200
159
150
132
AFF
100
AFF
99
INTR
73
53
50
126
AFF 124
107
INTR 94
INTR
61
62
RESP
RESP
138
AFF INTR
59
42
RESP
COH
COH
COH
26
RESP
COH
0
1
3
2
modules
4
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On the Nature and Development of Social Presence in …