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Engagement and Social Presence in a Virtual Worlds (Second Life) Learning Environment

, Kibbutzim College of Education and Mofet Institute, Israel ; , University of Texas, United States ; , Calgary University, Canada

Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-84-6 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


The purpose of this study was to understand the nature of learning experiences of cross-cultural, cross-national university students engaged in designing a collaborative learning activity in mixed groups both in a synchronous 3D virtual world environment and in an asynchronous text-mediated communication environment. The study uses the framework of engagement and social presence theory to explore differences in student perceptions related to their interactions in both environments. The study results indicated that there are unique challenges in conducting cross national collaborative learning projects. These included limited English skills of non Native English speakers, technology difficulties experienced by students with limited bandwidth access or computing capabilities, and, lastly, challenges of scheduling synchronous meetings because of time differences. Students that were satisfied with the project and connected to the group reported on higher engagement in the course.


Shonfeld, M., Resta, P. & Yaniv, H. (2011). Engagement and Social Presence in a Virtual Worlds (Second Life) Learning Environment. In M. Koehler & P. Mishra (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2011--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 740-745). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved February 19, 2019 from .


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