Friday, April 09, 2010

Creating Social Presence in Online Classroom (ID Live on EdTechTalk)

Today’s session of Instructional Design Live on EdTech Talk is led by Jennifer Maddrell. This is the first in a three part series of the Community of Inquiry Framework.

What is social presence?

Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (1999).
Assessing Social Presence in Asynchronous Text-Based Computer
Conferencing. Journal of Distance Education, 14(2), 50-71.

" ... the ability of learners to project themselves socially and emotionally in a community of inquiry . The function of this element is to support the cognitive and affective objectives of learning. Social presence supports cognitive objectives through its ability to instigate, sustain, and support critical thinking in a community of learners" (p. 52)

Essentially – it’s giving people the chance to be known as a real person in an online virtual classroom.

Some initial reviews suggest a positive correlation between social presence and learner satisfaction.

From an ID perspective -- what can you do to create social presence in an online classroom?

Joni describes how she uses Twitter in classroom – how can you compel students to check in to the course even when they don’t have anything they have to DO? Wanted conversation to be more free flowing than an online forum – more natural and playful communication – not always about content of the course, but about students as people (how is your day going?) Reaching beyond the classroom walls.

Robert on what he does to extend social presence – depends a bit on the students. Social presence for many is constructed through discussion boards. Encourage faculty to have intro activities where individuals can identify a little about themselves, their interest and expectations about course. Can be dry, but there are fun ways to do this. Can provide ways for students to connect with each other. Tools like Elluminate can provide connection through voice and immediacy.

Should students be able to opt out of some of these exercises? Or should it be required?

Example: Blogging as place to review articles and post your own reflections. Many students weren’t comfortable putting their personal thoughts out there. (This was 3 years ago and early in blogging). Jennifer wondering if today people are more concerned with putting their content online and showing what they don’t know (employers can see, etc.)

The next step: research that looks to whether creating social presence creates improved learning outcomes. (Jennifer Maddrell’s PhD dissertation is focused on this).

There are three elements to community of inquiry framework:

  • Social Presence
  • Cognitive Presence (next week’s ID Live!)
  • Teaching Presence (the following week on ID Live)

The recording of this session will be available at Instruction Design Commons. and here: View the Elluminate Live! recording

About Instructional Design Live:

A weekly online talk show, Instructional Design Live is based around Instructional Design related topics and is opportunity for Instructional Designers and professionals engaged in similar work to discuss effective online teaching and learning practices.


James Mac said...

Great interview, this is something we struggle to achieve on a daily basis. We have tried a number of web 2.0 technologies as twitter to improve the social presence.

Jim Richardson said...

I believe that social presence is very important on an online classroom. In an online course, students can be more motivated to study if there’s someone they can relate to. It’s just like a traditional classroom. You would want to at least know some of your classmates. This is a great idea! If I would enroll for an online MBA program I think I would like a program that provides this kind of interaction with their students. Online studies providers must be aware of this. It would just make learner more fun. Thank you for sharing these ideas with us. I hope you continue on sharing your ideas. They are very interesting and beneficial. Keep it up!