Using Mobile Apps to Foster
Social Presence in the Online
Keith Pratt, PhD
Rena Palloff, PhD
• 5 billion cell phones in world
• 1 billion internet capable mobile devices
• Online Enrollments include mobile device
• What is the impact of mobile tech on the
online learning environment?
• “The degree of salience between two communicators”
(Short & Christie, 1976).
• “the person we become when we are
online and how we express that person
in virtual space (Palloff and Pratt, 2007).
• Early research began on study of communication medium
• Much modern research centers on the
• Little research, at this time, on mobile the
• Students can participate in coursework without using a desktop
• Mobile tech allows communication to go beyond simple voice
or text based
• Mobile tech is a tether that binds a new
generation of learners together with a
connectedness not possible in previous
Mobile technology, with its ultimate connective/communicative
capability, has the potential to enhance the “realness” of
a person’s presence in an online classroom.
Social networks are a two edged sword:
• They foster online presence
and build connections
• They can destroy social presence and isolate
an individual from the group
Use of networks within a classroom environment
must be carefully administrated.