Social presence in the Web-based synchronous secondary classroom
Eric C. Nippard, Memorial University of Newfoundland , Canada
Memorial University of Newfoundland . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to explore how social presence manifests itself in the web-based synchronous secondary classroom (WBSSC) and to gain insight into the perspectives of teachers on their role in fostering social presence. Data were gathered using semi-structured and structured observations of recorded web-based synchronous classes, and semi-structured interviews of the teachers who work in synchronous secondary [high-school] classrooms in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Findings revealed that social presence was manifested through affective, expanded affective, cohesive, interactive and audio-sensory categories of a revised instrument for identifying social presence. Social presence manifested itself for students through the use of text-based Direct Messaging and for teachers through use of two-way audio. Students relied on the conventions of communication of informal synchronous chat to manifest social presence. Teachers perceived their role to be models of behaviors that foster social presence, to be willing to use self-disclosure, to help students build communication skills, help foster a sense of group cohesion, to foster a real and engaging classroom experience, and to help students to create an identity. Implications for practice include the need for online teachers to make conscious choices regarding which tools will be used by students and for what purposes.
Nippard, E.C. Social presence in the Web-based synchronous secondary classroom. Master's thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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