Lowenthal, P. R., & Dunlap, J. C. (2018). Investigating students’ perceptions of instructional strategies to establish social presence. Distance Education, 39(3), 281-298. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2018.1476844
Social presence is a popular construct used to describe how people socially interact in online courses. Online educators continue to try different ways to establish and maintain social presence in online courses. However, research to date has not identified which strategies, or types of strategies, are best for establishing social presence. We investigated student perceptions of various strategies of establishing and maintaining social presence using a mixed methods case study approach in two different fully online courses. Results suggest that students are more interested in connecting with their instructor than their peers; different students like different social presence strategies; and students have different overall social presence needs. Various strategies and implications for practice are addressed throughout.
Keywords: Social presence; teaching presence; community of inquiry; online learning;, instructional strategies
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