Joni Dunlap and I presented a paper titled “Investigating Students’ Perceptions of Various Instructional Strategies to Establish Social Presence” at AERA 2011.
Social presence theory explains how people present themselves as “real” through a communication medium and is a popular construct used to describe how people socially interact in online courses. Because of its intuitive appeal, educators have experimented with different ways to establish social presence in their online courses. Over the years, we have tried many strategies—from rich threaded discussions to personal one-on-one emails to digital stories to using social networking tools like Twitter. Over time, we began questioning how students perceive all of the strategies we use (in other words, what strategies were leading to the most bang for our buck). In this paper, we describe our investigation of students’ perceptions of various instructional strategies to establish social presence.