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Social Presence in Massive Open Online Courses ARTICLE

, Institute for Application of the Learning Science and Educational Technology, National University of Singapore ; , Teaching Innovation Unit, University of South Australia ; , Delft University of Technology ; , hennisNL ; , Teaching Innovation Unit, University of South Australia ; , Faculty of Education, Monash University School of Informatics, The University of Edinburgh ; , Teaching Innovation Unit, University of South Australia

IRRODL Volume 19, Number 3, ISSN 1492-3831 Publisher: Athabasca University Press


The capacity to foster interpersonal interactions in massive open online courses (MOOCs) has frequently been contested, particularly when learner interactions are limited to MOOC forums. The establishment of social presence\u2014a perceived sense of somebody being present and \u201creal\u201d\u2014is among the strategies to tackle the challenges of online learning and could be applied in MOOCs. Thus far, social presence in MOOCs has been under-researched. Studies that previously examined social presence in MOOCs did not account for the peculiar nature of open online learning. In contrast to the existing work, this study seeks to understand how learners perceive social presence, and the different nuances of social presence in diverse MOOC populations. In particular, we compare perceptions of social presence across the groups of learners with different patterns of forum participation in three edX MOOCs. The findings reveal substantial differences in how learners with varying forum activity perceive social presence. Perceptions of social presence also differed in courses with the varying volume of forum interaction and duration. Finally, learners with sustained forum activity generally reported higher social presence scores that included low affectivity and strong group cohesion perceptions. With this in mind, this study is significant because of the insights into brings to the current body of knowledge around social presence in MOOCs. The study\u2019s findings also raise questions about the effectiveness of transferring existing socio-constructivist constructs into the MOOC contexts.


Poquet, O., Kovanovi\u0107, V., de Vries, P., Hennis, T., Joksimovi\u0107, S., Ga\u0161evi\u0107, D. & Dawson, S. (2018). Social Presence in Massive Open Online Courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(3),. Athabasca University Press. Retrieved August 19, 2018 from .


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