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Social Presence of Saudi EFL Learners

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Dr Ali Alamir

on 27 November 2017

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Transcript of Social Presence of Saudi EFL Learners

Presentation Outline

- The social presence of L2 students in the online environment.
- The importance of social presence in L2 learning?
- The role of the instructor in the online environment.
- The model of social presence.
- Participants.
- Method.
- Quantitative results.
- Qualitative results.
- Discussion of findings.
- Conclusions.

The Social Presence of Saudi
EFL Students when they Interact
with their Peers and Instructors

Dr. Ali Hussein Alamir

English Department
Faculty of Languages and Translation
King Khalid University

27-29 November 2017

What is social presence?
Social presence
has been defined '
as the ability of participants in the Community of Inquiry to project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to the other participants as ‘real people’
(Garrison et al., 2000, p. 89)

“as the ability of participants to identify with the group or course of study, communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop personal and affective relationships progressively by way of projecting their individual personalities”
(Garrison 2009b, as cited in Garrison, 2011, p. 34)
Is it important for L2 learning?

- Yamada (2009) points out that “
[s]ocial presence is a significant concept for considering the method of connecting interaction to learning
” (p. 822).

- Yamada (2009) concludes that “
social presence effectively promotes interaction in communicative language learning, raising the consciousness of learning and leading to increased learning performance such as the frequency of utterances and grammatical modification, as suggested by previous SLA research
” (p. 831).

Social presence
is seen as essential for
fostering relationships among learners
in online communities because it appears to have a positive impact on their
satisfaction and performance
(Richardson & Swan, 2003)


Social presence
appears to help L2 students to be
conscious of grammatical and lexical accuracy
improve their interactivity in CMC interactions

(Yamada, 2009; Yamada & Akahori, 2007)
, and
reduce their interaction anxiety
when they interact, particularly with those whom they have met online for the first time
(Ko, 2012)
The role of the instructor.
The role
of the instructor &
the presence
of the instructor during students' online interactions have been seen crucial!

- The role of the instructor was seen as useful because the instructor provided students with
teaching support
instructions and feedback
) which enhanced their social presence.
(Paiva & Rodrigues-Junior, 2009)

- “the nature of...online discussions in which participants communicate with one another
without any interference from teachers
seems to influence frequent occurrences of social activities”
(Yodkamlue, 2008, p. 96)
The model of social presence

- This framework has been widely employed by L2 researchers because it has been developed for ACMC interaction and it can be easily applied to identify the participants’ cognitive, social, and teaching activities in online discussion forums.

(e.g., Arnold & Ducate, 2006; Lomicka & Lord, 2007; Luzón, 2011; Martins & Braga, 2009; Paiva & Rodrigues-Junior, 2009; Pawan, Paulus, Yalcin, & Chang, 2003; Saude et al., 2012; Yildiz, 2009; Yodkamlue, 2008).

The Framework of Community of Inquiry (CoI):

“[A] community of inquiry provides the environment in which students can take responsibility and control of their learning through negotiating meaning, diagnosing misconceptions, and challenging accepted beliefs—essential ingredients for deep and meaningful learning outcomes” (Garrison, 2011, p. 22).
(Garrison et al., 2000, 2001)

- Three EFL male instructors
PhD holders
Good EFL teaching experience
Good use of the blackboard and discussion forums

- 49 Saudi EFL male students


- A mixed-methods research.
- Data collection methods:
1) transcripts of online interactions.
2) questionnaires.
3) interviews.
- Online Task
argumentative topics.
- Online environment
discussion forums of their course blackboard.
- Patterns of online interactions
Student-student online interaction (
5 weeks
Instructor-student online interaction (
5 weeks

- Data analysis method
Quantitative methods.
Qualitative methods.

- Coding inter-rater reliability effort of social presence
significant at
97 % matching

Interview results

-When I read my peers’ online interactions, I can feel their emotions from their writing styles to the extent that I can feel what they really feel as they look like they are speaking spontaneously!

-I used to express emotions more when I interacted online with my peers than with my instructor because there were no psychological barriers between me and my peers!


- I found it easy to exchange my emotions and humour in student-student online interaction, but when the instructor interacted with us, the online interactions became formal and I avoided jokes and emotional expressions!


- The interactions in student-student online exchanges were full of enjoyment and laughter and I argued with my peers in an informal way. Conversely, after the instructor interacted online with us, the interactions were full of formality and we were seriousness!


Discussion and conclusion
Research Questions:

1) Do Saudi EFL students have
significant differences in the degrees of their social presence
between their student-student and instructor-student online interactions?

2) What are
the qualities of Saudi EFL students’ social presence
in their student-student and instructor-student online interactions?

Students statistically
projected higher degrees of social presence
in student-student than in instructor-student online exchanges. They were reflected in the behaviours of
expressing emotions, using humour, giving compliments, and engaging in salutations

avoided expressing humour, compliments, and salutations
with their instructors. They might have regarded using them frequently as
not appropriate
as they may show
less degree of respect
or might not have yet
learnt English pragmatics
in terms of differentiating between
formal and informal English
in their social interactions.
- Student-student online interactions enable Saudi EFL students to produce a higher degree of social presence than instructor-student interactions.

- The presence and absence of the instructors as well as the degrees of their social presence seemed to influence the degree of Saudi EFL students’ social presence in the discussion forums.

- The language and cultural differences between Arabic and English might have also prevented students from using English or Arabic greetings when they interacted with their instructors in the discussion forums.
End of Presentation.

Acknowledgements to King Khalid University, Monash University, Ministry of Education, and Saudi Cultural Mission Office in Canberra.

Thank you!
Dr. Ali Hussein Alamir
End of Presentation.

Acknowledgements to King Khalid University, Monash University, Ministry of Education in Saudi, Saudi Cultural Mission Office in Canberra.

Thank you!
Dr. Ali Hussein Alamir
Full transcript