Social Presence by "Saved by the Spider Js" (Works Cited…
"Saved by the Spider Js"
Lowenthal, P. R. (2010). The evolution and influence of social presence theory on online learning. In T. T. Kidd (Ed.), Online Education and Adult Learning:
New Frontiers for Teaching Practices
(pp. 124-139). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Lee, S.-M. (2014). The relationships between higher order thinking skills, cognitive density, and social presence in online learning.
The Internet and Higher Education
Joksimović, S., Gašević, D., Kovanović, V., Riecke, B. E., & Hatala, M. (2015). Social presence in online discussions as a process predictor of academic performance.
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
(6), 638-654. doi:10.1111/jcal.12107
Cobb, S. C. (2009). Social presence and online learning: A current view from a research perspective.
Journal of Interactive Online Learning
Khan, A., Egbue, O., Palkie, B., & Madden, J. (2017). Active learning: Engaging students to maximize learning in an online course.
Electronic Journal of e-Learning
McGuire, B. F. (2016). Integrating the intangibles into asynchronous online instruction: Strategies for improving interaction and social presence.
Journal of Effective Teaching
Student Engagement and Student Learning:
How is social presence related to Student engagement and student learning?
"One of the most important components of online learning is to provide a forum for the development of a community (Khan, A.; pp. 110)."
Our attempt to answer this question led us to new questions. While we could see that social presence is correlated with student engagement and student learning, our scholarly resources couldn’t tell us exactly what this relationship was, primarily because the articles we chose to investigate this question were qualitative research, attempting to understand the phenomenon of either engagement or social presence, rather than quantitative. Much of our conversation led us to thinking about techniques (See OLE Techniques). We asked whether or not social presence facilitates engagement or vice versa, and could not actually answer this question.
What are the techniques that should be used when developing an online learning environment that requires social presence?
A forum for introduction of particpants
Facilitating some social interactions along with academic interaction
Providing collaborative learning experiences
We found some recommendations for developing an OLE that requires social presence, and it seems that much of the responsibility for developing social presence among students rests on the shoulders of the instructor (teacher presence). We noted that in our own personal experience, we tend to develop social presence in our small groups, rather than with the entire online class, and that social presence is more difficult to develop in an online environment.
We also noted that many of us had never really thought about the purpose of assignments to help us develop social presence. We saw these as “busy work” that preceded the actual work of the course. Now, however, we are rethinking this assumption, and trying to determine how having social presence affects our learning (and in turn, how we can develop it to help our students learn).
What We Knew (Stage 1: Warming Up)
Social presence is easier to develop with small groups than with an entire class.
Social presence is harder to develop in an online environment.
Social presence relates to the concept of digital citizenship and how we act (and interact) online.
HIgher social presence can encourage others to engage more as well.
Social presence is important in both online and face-to-face learning environments.
Media can make a difference to developing social presence: face-to-face synchronous meetings can develop it more quickly and immediately than reading walls of text.
To help facilitate social presence in OLE, instructors must make it a priority. Several different techniques can be used to create social presence including making feedback a priority, humanizing the course, and monitoring discussions. I push social constructivism in my face-to-face courses and plan on doing the same thing with my upcoming online courses. I’ve learned there is no one way to successfully have social presence but I believe it starts with the instructor being engaged and present and that students are more likely to feel comfortable modeling this behavior.
I came into this week knowing that social presence was how much we interacted online and how we were socially in our online community. I have always wondered how student engagement and social presence fit together and how educators who teach with an online learning environment check in on their classes social presence. Through research and articles I read, this week taught me that educators think that student engagement and social presence is a challenge within an OLE, but have created ways to have their classes more engaging to help social presence. I now know WHY we start each OLE class with a get to know you section, so we can start to make that interaction with our peers. Khan's article talked about how active learning can help increase student engagement and have a more powerful impact on social presence. So, as I reflect on this week as an educator I see WHY things are done on my OLE to increase student engagement and HOW that helps the interaction of social presence.
I have always thought of myself as an individual learner. However, in thinking about Social Constructivist theory in combination with the ideas of social presence, I realized that my most exciting and fulfilling learning experiences were always in groups: the seminar conversation in grad school; the after-paper discussions at conferences; the sharing of ideas between colleagues and peers that challenged my ideas and made me see topics from broader perspectives.
In thinking about how I've taught online, I realize how much of my assumptions of my own learning style have made me underestimate the importance of social presence for learning. I have several small take-aways I want to incorporate into my OLE, but the main one is to think about how to replicate the graduate student seminar experience in my OLEs for my undergrad students.
Social presence has many components to it. One of the things that became clear to me, was that having a technological medium is not the same as having useful techniques to enhance the learning experience in an OLE. The online learning environment can often be created at a translational level (using the medium as an alternative method for learning) but lacking a transformational element that engages students with one another in a course at a deeper and more meaningful level. Student engagement is dependent upon the ability to use the medium as a catalyst for implement strategies, such as forums and group projects with identified roles that prompt the users to engage with one another. According to studies that have been
conducted, the feeling among many that use online courses is that it is inferior to the traditional methods of learning, however, this is a common misconception, and while the initial setup of an online learning environment is crucial, it can offer a style of learning that is different from the traditional methods and has its own advantages.
Throughout this week, I learned about the importance of social interactions in an online learning environment. In my 5th grade classroom, I focus a lot about using digital resources but I haven’t implemented social interactions online in my classroom. After the readings and discussion for the week, I now have some new tools to use in my classroom to promote an OLE. I think that productive social interactions online have to be taught and I think that 5th grade is a great time to start teaching them the skills. In order to be productive, they have to use appropriate language, respond in a timely manner, and be practice internet safety.
Link to our messy doc
and our full discussion.