AERA 2010 - Social Presence: What is it? And how do we measure it?
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AERA 2010 - Social Presence: What is it? And how do we measure it?

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  • You might find either of these helpful

    --Problems Measuring Social Presence in a Community of Inquiry
    http://www.patricklowenthal.com/research/problems-measuring-social-presence-in-a-community-of-inquiry/

    --Social Presence: What is it? How do we measure it?
    http://patricklowenthal.com/social-presence-what-is-it-how-do-we-measure-it/
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  • Hi! I am Patrick Lowenthal from the University of Colorado Denver. I am a doctoral student there and I also work full time as an academic technology coordinator. I am here today to talk about Social Presence: What is it? And How do we measure it. You might notice that I have changed the title a bit.
  • That is because I have found myself biting off more than I can chew. This presentation was supposed to present the results of my dissertation but unfortunately I am not at a place to do that.
  • I understand if you want to leave but I think I still have an important story to tell and one that will interest people specifically interested in social presence and online learning.Review the literature on social presenceIdentify gaps in the literature, and Review Methodological Issues with Analyzing Social Presence
  • Social presence is a tough construct because everyone seems to think they understand what social presence is. But does social presence = being present? If so, what does it mean to be present.
  • If this student was in your course, would you feel like she was present?
  • What about here? Do you think she feels his presence? Do you think he is feels present?
  • Social Presence theory began with the Communication Studies Group in London and was popularized by Short, Williams, and Christie’s book on the subject.
  • They originally defined social presence as …
  • But what does this mean? Well…
  • I like to call my daughter’s when I am away at a conference but there is no question that this is different than
  • this… Most people would agree. And so Social Presence Theory really sought to explain and to understand how communication media influence who we communicate with others.
  • Well our lives have changed and it is no matter an issue of talking on the phone vs. meeting face to face. Technology has invaded nearly every aspect of our life. And we find more and more of our time being consumed with mediated communication
  • We are social beings. This conference is just one example.
  • At the same time. Learning is generally understood as a social process
  • So the question was asked early on, is social learning online even possible? Many thought it wasn’t and some still make a similar argument today.
  • CMC is different than other types of communication medium. Early research suggested that CMC…
  • So if learning is social and CMC antisocial? Where does this leave us?
  • Initial research on CMC focused on business and organization settings. But with the rise of online learning, educators continued to research whether or not CMC could support the social process of learning.
  • Why does this matter? Well because not only did early online researchers argue that CMC could be social they also began to make claims about social presence and online learning.
  • Social presence is my primary research area. I got interested in social presence when I began teaching online. I felt something was missing and I needed to find ways to improve how I present myself as being “real” and “there” and how I help students do the same. So I basically wanted to improve my teaching. But if online learning continues to grow as it seems to be, this becomes an important topic for anyone involved in education.
  • But as I began reading research on social presence, I wasn’t sure that all of the researchers were talking about the same thing.
  • So given how different researchers define social presence, you can imagine how differently they measure it.
  • Generally speaking, researchers either look at perceptions of social presence OR behaviors people use to establish one’s social presence online
  • But it doesn’t have to be “OR”. Karen Swan is one of the only researchers who has done a good job focusing on both perceptions of presence and behaviors of social presence. Because the majority of research has focused on perceptions, my dissertation specifically focuses on measuring behaviors.
  • Social presence is framed in a lot of different ways but one of the most popular is as being part of a Community of Inquiry as developed by Garrison et al. In this way, social presence is conceptualized as being one of three presences that lead to a meaningful educational experience.
  • Garrison and colleagues specifically conceptualized social presence as having an affective part, a open communication / interactive part, and a cohesive part. Multiple surveys have been developed to measure students perceptions of each of these but recently Arbaugh and colleagues came together to create one survey that researchers interested in CoI could use.
  • So they basically developed three questions for each part. The following three are the questions that seek students perceptions of affective expression. Now I don’t want to criticize their work. These researchers have done some great work but I struggle with certain questions in this survey and have used it myself in other research.
  • For instance, this last question. It seems to be very general and seems to be asking students about what they generally think about CMC rather than how they think it worked in a specific course. I might think CMC is adequate or at times good but maybe not “excellent”.
  • Much the same way this last question seems to be very general when in fact online learning is very situated and can vary a great deal from course to course.
  • When researchers have wanted to focus on students behaviors they have often began with the same three categories of social presence and the work of Garrison et al.
  • Basically four researchers have focused on using the same categories and indicators to code online discussions. First Garrison et al., then Rourke, then Swan and then Hughes. I have tried in my own work to begin with these categories but it’s difficult because these categories have changed and in some ways need to change more. For instance, Hughes et al. has pointed out that paralanguage (think emoticons… and exaggerated text) has changed. Further, this coding sheet essentially requires one to use multiple codes per unit of analysis because no matter how small of a unit of analysis one uses, you will often find multiple indicators in one unit.
  • Further, while some researchers have focused on the entire discussion post as the unit of analysis, I like Hughes felt this misses important things. For instance, when coding online discussions for my dissertation, I have found that there are some posts where there might be 3,4 or even 5 group references. If I had chunked this entire discussion posting as one unit, I would miss this. Further, my research suggests that the focus of the discussions also really influences how some of these indicators manifest. For instance, group reference in a full class discussion isn’t the same as a group reference in a small group discussion that is charged with completing a group project.
  • But regardless of which approach you take, perceptions vs. behaviors, you find yourself trying to make sense of your data which typically entails calculating some type of social presence score. So for the most part this is done by adding up each part.
  • But the problem with this is that it assumes each is equal. Rourke et al. acknowledged this but sense the majority of researchers continue to treat these as equal. Is asking a question the same as self disclosing personal/emotional information? And at what point is it too much? Rourke et al. asked this but we still struggle with this.
  • Unfortunately what it means from my perspective is that we have a lot more research to do. It is unclear what social presence is collectively speaking. Also researchers, in my opinion, need to focus more on using multiple and mixed methods to study not only behaviors of social presence but also faculty and students perceptions of presence.

Transcript

  • 1. Social PresenceWhat is it? And How Do We Measure It?
    Patrick R. Lowenthal | University of Colorado Denver
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4. What is Social Presence?
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7. Social Presence Theory
    Communications Studies Group at the University College in London in the 1970s
    Short, J.A., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). The social psychology of telecommunications. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • 8. Original Definition
    Social presence is the degree of salience (i.e., quality or state of being there) between two communicators using a communication medium.
  • 9. What does that mean?
    • It’s a quality of a communication medium.
    • 10. Some media (e.g., video) have higher social presence than other media (e.g., audio)
    • 11. Media w/ high social presence are sociable, warm, and personal; media w/ low social presence are as less personal.
  • For Example
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14. Whydoes this matter?
  • 15. Our Lives Have Changed
  • 16. We are social beings!
  • 17. Learning is social!
  • 18. Is social learning online possible?
  • 19. Computer-mediated Communication
    Early CMC Research Suggested
    CMC is a lean medium
    CMC is better at task oriented communication
    CMC is inherently antisocial and impersonal
  • 20. (learning = social) + (CMC = antisocial) =???
  • 21. Rise of Online Learning
    Proponents and practitioners argued
    • CMC can support the social practice of learning and be very interpersonal
    • 22. Learners can present themselves as being “real” as well as “connect” with others
    • 23. Perceptions & behaviors online matter just as much, if not more, than a medium’s supposed capabilities
  • Rise of Online Learning
    Proponents and practitioners argued
    • CMC can support the social practice of learning and be very interpersonal
    • 24. Learners can present themselves as being “real” as well as “connect” with others
    • 25. Perceptions & behaviors online matter just as much, if not more, than a medium’s supposed capabilities
  • Rise of Online Learning
    Proponents and practitioners argued
    • CMC can support the social practice of learning and be very interpersonal
    • 26. Learners can present themselves as being “real” as well as “connect” with others
    • 27. Perceptions & behaviors online matter just as much, if not more, than a medium’s supposed capabilities
  • Why does thismatter?
  • 28. Research on Social Presence
    • A relationship between social presence and student satisfaction
    • 29. A relationship between social presence and the development of a community of learners
    • 30. A relationship between social presence and perceived learning
  • Research on Social Presence
    • A relationship between social presence and student satisfaction
    • 31. A relationship between social presence and the development of a community of learners
    • 32. A relationship between social presence and perceived learning
  • Research on Social Presence
    • A relationship between social presence and student satisfaction
    • 33. A relationship between social presence and the development of a community of learners
    • 34. A relationship between social presence and perceived learning
  • Why does thismatter to me?
  • 35. But are researcherstalking about the same thing?
  • 36. How is Social Presence definedtoday?
  • 37. Definitions of Social Presence
    • “the degree to which a person is perceived as a ‘real person’” (Gunawardena)
    • 38. “the ability … to project themselves socially and emotionally, as ‘real’ people (i.e., their full personality), through the medium of communication being used” (Garrison et al., 2000)
    • 39. “a student’s sense of being in and belonging in a course and the ability to interact with other students and an instructor” (Picciano, 2002)
    • 40. “the degree of feeling, perception, and reaction of being connected by CMC to another intellectual entity through a text-based encounter” (Tu & McIsaac, 2002)
    • 41. “the ability of participants to identify with the community …, communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.” (Garrison, 2009)
  • Definitions of Social Presence
    • “the degree to which a person is perceived as a ‘real person’” (Gunawardena)
    • 42. “the ability … to project themselves socially and emotionally, as ‘real’ people (i.e., their full personality), through the medium of communication being used” (Garrison et al., 2000)
    • 43. “a student’s sense of being in and belonging in a course and the ability to interact with other students and an instructor” (Picciano, 2002)
    • 44. “the degree of feeling, perception, and reaction of being connected by CMC to another intellectual entity through a text-based encounter” (Tu & McIsaac, 2002)
    • 45. “the ability of participants to identify with the community …, communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.” (Garrison, 2009)
  • Definitions of Social Presence
    • “the degree to which a person is perceived as a ‘real person’” (Gunawardena)
    • 46. “the ability … to project themselves socially and emotionally, as ‘real’ people (i.e., their full personality), through the medium of communication being used” (Garrison et al., 2000)
    • 47. “a student’s sense of being in and belonging in a course and the ability to interact with other students and an instructor” (Picciano, 2002)
    • 48. “the degree of feeling, perception, and reaction of being connected by CMC to another intellectual entity through a text-based encounter” (Tu & McIsaac, 2002)
    • 49. “the ability of participants to identify with the community …, communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.” (Garrison, 2009)
  • Definitions of Social Presence
    • “the degree to which a person is perceived as a ‘real person’” (Gunawardena)
    • 50. “the ability … to project themselves socially and emotionally, as ‘real’ people (i.e., their full personality), through the medium of communication being used” (Garrison et al., 2000)
    • 51. “a student’s sense of being in and belonging in a course and the ability to interact with other students and an instructor” (Picciano, 2002)
    • 52. “the degree of feeling, perception, and reaction of being connected by CMC to another intellectual entity through a text-based encounter” (Tu & McIsaac, 2002)
    • 53. “the ability of participants to identify with the community …, communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.” (Garrison, 2009)
  • Definitions of Social Presence
    • “the degree to which a person is perceived as a ‘real person’” (Gunawardena)
    • 54. “the ability … to project themselves socially and emotionally, as ‘real’ people (i.e., their full personality), through the medium of communication being used” (Garrison et al., 2000)
    • 55. “a student’s sense of being in and belonging in a course and the ability to interact with other students and an instructor” (Picciano, 2002)
    • 56. “the degree of feeling, perception, and reaction of being connected by CMC to another intellectual entity through a text-based encounter” (Tu & McIsaac, 2002)
    • 57. “the ability of participants to identify with the community …, communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.” (Garrison, 2009)
  • Original Definition
    Social presence is the degree of salience (i.e., quality or state of being there) between two communicators using a communication medium.
  • 58. How do researchers measure it?
  • 59. Perceptions or Behaviors
  • 60. Perceptions or andBehaviors
  • 61. Community of Inquiry
  • 62. Perceptions
  • 63. Perceptions
    Affective expression
    --Getting to know other course participants gave me a sense of belonging in the course.
    --I was able to form distinct impressions of some course participants.
    --Online or web-based communication is an excellent medium for social interaction.
  • 64. Perceptions
    Affective expression
    --Getting to know other course participants gave me a sense of belonging in the course.
    --I was able to form distinct impressions of some course participants.
    --Online or web-based communication is an excellent medium for social interaction.
  • 65. Perceptions
    Open communication / Interactive
    --I felt comfortable conversing through the online medium.
    --I felt comfortable participating in the course discussions.
    --I felt comfortable interacting with other course participants.
  • 66. Perceptions
    Group cohesion
    --I felt comfortable disagreeing with other course participants while still maintaining a sense of trust.
    --I felt that my point of view was acknowledged by other course participants.
    --Online discussions help me to develop a sense of collaboration.
  • 67. Perceptions
    Group cohesion
    --I felt comfortable disagreeing with other course participants while still maintaining a sense of trust.
    --I felt that my point of view was acknowledged by other course participants.
    --Online discussions help me to develop a sense of collaboration.
  • 68. Behaviors
  • 69. Behaviors
  • 70. Behaviors
  • 71. Social Presence
    Affective
    Interactive
    Cohesive
    Social Presence
    +
    +
    =
  • 72. Are they all equal?
  • 73. So what does this all mean?
  • 74. Patrick R. Lowenthal
    patrick.lowenthal@ucdenver.eduPowerpoint& Paper @ www.slideshare.net/plowenthal