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Creating Social Presence in Online Environments

New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education Volume 100, ISSN 1052-2891


During the last decade, the Internet has significantly changed the way learning is delivered and facilitated in both educational and noneducational settings. Advocates of Internet-based instruction are largely positive and optimistic about its potential. Before it can be fully accepted by the mainstream public and educational community, however, many challenges must be addressed. Primary among these challenges is how to meet "the expectations and needs of both the instructor and the student and how to design online courses so they provide a satisfying and effective learning environment" (Johnson, Aragon, Shaik, and Palma-Rivas, 2000, p. 31). According to Bibeau (2001), teaching and learning functions are inherently social endeavors; therefore, it is beneficial to understand the various effects of the geographic, temporal, and psychological distance between instructors and participants. The lens through which these distances are examined is that of social presence theory. This chapter examines definitions of social presence, the benefits of social presence on learning, and strategies for increasing social presence within online environments.


Aragon, S.R. (2003). Creating Social Presence in Online Environments. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 100, 57-68. Retrieved May 27, 2020 from .

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