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Text Messaging to Improve Social Presence in Online Learning

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Educause Quarterly Volume 30, Number 3, ISSN 1528-5324


East Carolina University (ECU) provides more than 650 class sections that are totally online each semester, serving more than 5,800 students. With the proliferation of technology devices, students have begun exploring new methods of learning, thus paving the way for educators to adopt new instructional strategies. With an increase in the number of face-to-face courses being moved online, there is a greater need than ever to create a social environment where students and instructors can become comfortable and interact with each other. Text messaging is considered one way to accomplish this. This article presents a study aimed to adapt instructional pedagogy to make it more compatible with the mobile lifestyle of today's students. The goal of this research was to evaluate and provide suggestions on how to incorporate SMS text messaging so that both professors and students could maintain a social presence within a learning community. Data collected indicated that the students liked to use SMS text messaging and felt that it was useful for enhancing communication in their online class. The collaboration and communication created through the use of text messaging also supported the creation of a social context that fostered a sense of community. Using the text messaging tool, teachers and students became active participants in the learning process. The use of SMS text messaging to share online resources allowed students to learn through interaction with other students in an online environment. The learners applied their combined knowledge to solve course problems. The SMS text messaging tool also provided a medium for communication and dialogue, which engendered the "immediacy" sought by many online learners. (Contains 1 table and 16 endnotes.)


DuVall, J.B., Powell, M.R., Hodge, E. & Ellis, M. (2007). Text Messaging to Improve Social Presence in Online Learning. Educause Quarterly, 30(3), 24-28. Retrieved January 29, 2020 from .

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