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Creating Social Presence in Online Environments

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Adam Jordan

on 11 November 2012

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Transcript of Creating Social Presence in Online Environments

Creating Social Presence in Online Learning Environments Who's on the other end
of the screen? Focus of the presentation - Internet & Social Isolation
- Social Presence
- Benefits
- Strategies
- Course Designer
- Instructor
- Participant - Adam Jordan, University of Florida Internet and Social Isolation Why is this important Imagine for a moment... How much so is this magnified in the online environment?

How much more effort should we put into making sure our students feel welcomed and comfortable? Social Presence Definition: “a measure of the feeling of community that a learner experiences in an online environment” Associated Concepts Intimacy: physical distance, eye contact, smiling.
Immediacy: the measure of the psychological distance a person puts himself or herself between another person ("personal space") So, how does
this work online? Benefits of Social Presence What is the overall goal? "To create a level of comfort in which people feel at ease around the instructor and other participants." - It increases the quality related to the experience; authenticity
- Allows for a shift from formal to informal relationships within the environment
- Creates a more engaging learning environment
- Increases cognitive engagement (non-surfaced thinking; critical thinking)
- Solicits more genuine and honest responses
- Provides a platform to construct learning and reach learning outcomes within groups More research is suggesting
that social presence also
has positive influences on
reaching learning outcomes... ...not just increasing
student satisfaction. UF So now that we know the benefits of social presence, how can we make improvements in the online environment? UF UF Strategies for Creating Social Presence Course Designers - Develop welcome messages

- Include student profiles

- Incorporate audio

- Limit class size

- Structure collaborative learning activities Length isn't terribly important; putting a face to a name Picture of the student; short bio; messenger ID; email address (optional!) If the technology allows it, this brings life to the environment; reflects emotions Student instructor ratio should be no higher than 30:1; Social presence diminishes beyond this Provide assignments that require group work Strategies for Creating Social Presence Instructors - Contribute to discussion boards

- Promptly answer email

- Provide frequent feedback

- Strike up a conversation / Address students by name

- Share personal stories and experiences / Use Humor

- Use emoticons

- Allow students options for addressing the instructor Discussion needs to occur in these types of environments for relationships to be built; There needs to be a balance of contributions In live environments, students visit instructors' office hours and get immediate feedback; May seem more difficult without this Not just feedback, but personalized feedback; Individual feedback establishes relationships between the instructor and each student Be available to chat and be comfortable with discussing topics other than class assignments (weather; families; where students live) This ensures that the instructor is human and has experience in working in the same areas they aspire to work and learn They represent virtual facial expressions Dr.? Professor? Mr./Mrs.? First name? Strategies for Creating Social Presence Participants - Contribute to discussion boards

- Promptly answer email

- Strike up a conversation

- Share personal stories and experiences; Use Humor

- Use emoticons

- Use appropriate titles Most likely the best space for students to engage in conversations with the entire group (chat = option, but singular) Instructors also wonder about the "realness" of their students Creating a social presence isn't the sole responsibility of the instructor or course designer; avoid "sitting quietly" When doing so, make sure there is a time and place for this; If possible, relate it to the topic at hand If your statement could be mistakenly read as angry, nervous, insensitive, etc., an emoticon could clear up the confusion Dr.? Professor? Mr./Mrs.? First name? So where do
we begin? UF
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