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Social Presence and the Sociocultural Dynamics of Online Learning Communities. Charlotte N. (Lani) Gunawardena Ph.D. Professor Organizational Learning & Instructional Technology College of Education The University of New Mexico, USA. Social Presence (SP).

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social presence and the sociocultural dynamics of online learning communities

Social Presence and the Sociocultural Dynamics of Online Learning Communities

Charlotte N. (Lani) Gunawardena Ph.D.

Professor

Organizational Learning & Instructional Technology

College of Education

The University of New Mexico, USA

slide2

Social Presence (SP)

Degree to which a person is perceived as a “real person”

in mediated communication

vs.

vs.

Intimacy

(SP of Medium, differs in different media)

TV vs. Audio

Non-verbal cues

C. N. Gunawardena

slide3

Social Presence, the degree to which a person feels “socially present” in mediated communication, links to the larger social context of an online environment, including:

  • interaction
  • group cohesion
  • verbal and non-verbal communication
  • attitudes and motivation
  • social equality, etc.
social presence
Social Presence
  • Significant factor in improving satisfaction (Hackman & Walker, 1990, Gunawardena & Zittle, 1997)
  • Can be cultured (Johansen et. al. 1988)
  • Users develop techniques to overcome absence of social context cues:
    • Emoticons :-) :-( ;-)
    • Metalinguistic cues: “hmmm” “yuk”
    • In MUDS, SP and interaction are created by commands such as: say, emote, whisper
social presence as a predictor of learner satisfaction in cmc gunawardena zittle 1997 amjde 11 3
Social Presence as a Predictor of Learner Satisfaction in CMC – Gunawardena & Zittle 1997, AMJDE 11, 3
  • How effective is SP as a predictor of learner satisfaction?
  • Study CMC from a social-relational perspective
study participants
Study Participants
  • 62% female, 38% male
  • Comfort with technology 44%
  • 50 graduate students from 5

universities

    • San Diego State N=8
    • Texas A & M N=11
    • Univ. of New Mexico N=14
    • U. of Wisconsin-Madison N=7
    • Univ. of Wyoming N=10
social presence as a predictor of learner satisfaction stepwise regression models
Social Presence as a Predictor of Learner Satisfaction(Stepwise Regression Models)

Independent Variables

Dependent Variable

Model 1

Model 2

Social Presence

60%

58%

Learner

Satisfaction

6%

6%

70%

Equal

75%

4%

Tech

6%

Attitude

5%

Active

Barriers

Capable

Trained

the effects of emoticon use on mean satisfaction mediated by perceived social presence
The Effects of Emoticon Use on Mean Satisfaction Mediated by Perceived Social Presence

50

Satisfaction

40

30

20

10

1

2

3

4

5

6

___ SP High

---- SP Low

I intentionally used emoticons to express my feelings

Note: Social Presence artificially dichotomized at medium for clarity.

slide9

S

E

N

E

R

C

P

E

Oh please,

Talk to me!

Encouragement

Smiling

DiaNa

C MC

Nonverbal Cues, Names

Eye Contact

Comfort

Reinforcement

Experiences

Praising

social presence online course design
Social Presence & Online Course Design
  • Virtual Pubs & Cyber Cafes
  • Virtual costume party
  • Introductions (self-disclosure)
  • Moderators creating a sense of community & being there
  • Formats for interaction - story telling
  • Timely feedback
  • Real time interaction – Chats, teleconferences
  • Techniques – e.g. emoticons, pictures
developing an online community
Developing an Online Community
  • Community, Collaboration, and Interaction must become central in course design
  • Assessment must reward collaboration, contribution to community, and products developed within the community
  • Example: In Keresan Pueblo communities of New Mexico giftedness is defined as an individual’s ability to contribute to the good of the community
slide12

PURPOSE OF CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY

  • Examine if there are differences in students’ perceptions of online group process and group development in two national contexts, Mexico and USA
  • Determine if differences could be described as cultural differences

Gunawardena, Nolla, Wilson, López,-Islas, Ramirez-Angel, Megchun-Alpizar (2001)

slide13

Group Process & Group Development Online, USA & Mexico

  • Significant differences in perception for norming and performing stages
    • Forming,
    • Storming,
    • Norming,
    • Performing
    • Adjourning – Tuckman
  • Mexico more collectivist than USA
  • Country differences rather than age or gender differences

Gunawardena, Nolla, Wilson, López,-Islas, Ramirez-Angel, Megchun-Alpizar (2001)

slide14

Group Process & Group Development Online, USA & Mexico

Focus groups identified the following influences

  • Language
  • Power distance
  • Collectivist vs. individualist tendencies
  • Conflict
  • Social presence
  • Time frame, and
  • Technical skills

Gunawardena, Nolla, Wilson, López,-Islas, Ramirez-Angel, Megchun-Alpizar, Distance Education (2001)