AERA 2013 - Problems measuring a community of inquiry


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  • Hi everyoneI am Patrick and this is Joni. We are here to talk about a paper we wrote about measuring social presence.
  • Our paper is coming out later this year in a special issue on the Community of Inquiry in E-Learning and Digital Media (Eds. Norm Friesen and Anna Ortiz). The focus of this paper and the focus of our talk today is about the misalignment we have encountered when using the CoIQ to measure social presence in our own research.
  • Whether conceptualized as part of a community of inquiry or not, we are kinda obsessed with social presence. Over the past few years we have written about our use of using digital storytelling to establish social presence, digital music to establish social presence, social media (specifically Twitter) to establish social presence and even how to use low tech strategies to establish social presence. Despite this we remain dissatisfied, whether designing or teaching our own courses or working with other faculty, we haven’t been able to identify that magic formula to establish social presence. So our research and tinkering with our teaching continues…
  • Most researchers interested in social presence and online learning conceptualize social presence as existing within a community of inquiry.
  • In the community of inquiry social presence is thought to consist of three parts, affective, interactive and cohesive…
  • So when measuring social presence (and specifically affective expression, open communication, and group cohesion) researchers typically will either code discussions or survey learners.
  • Here are a number of the original indicators developed by Garrison and his colleagues… to code social presence in online discussions. They have been tweaked a little over the years but for the most part they remain unchanged.
  • A number of different surveys existed to measure social presence (and the community of inquiry) but a few years ago a number of researchers came together to create a joint instrument. We were excited about this and used it a couple of times… but as our research has continued and we have considered using mixed methods to study social presence we found ourselves comparing the categories and indicators of social presence to the CoIQ.
  • Let’s look at affective expression…New Affective QuestionsI formed distinct impressions of some course participants;I projected who I am to other course participants;I expressed emotions in this courseI used humor in this courseI self-disclosed information about life outside of classOthers expressed emotions in this courseOthers used humor in this courseOthers self-disclosed personal information in the course
  • Let’s look at open comunicationNew Interactive responses?I expressed agreement or disagreement with others or the content of others’ messagesI complimented others or the contents of their messagesI asked questionsI directly referred to the contents of others postsI communicated effectively using online communication tools (e.g., threaded discussions, email, and instant messaging)Others communicated effectively using online communication tools (e.g., threaded discussions, email, and instant messaging) with meI felt comfortable participating in online threaded discussionsI felt comfortable interacting with others. 
  • Let’s look at group cohesion…New Cohesive ResponsesI was able to develop a sense of collaboration with my peers.I used greetings and salutations Others used greetings and salutations I referred to other participants by their first nameOthers addressed me by my first nameI addressed the group using inclusive pronounsOthers addressed the group using inclusive pronouns
  • AERA 2013 - Problems measuring a community of inquiry

    1. 1. Problems Measuring Social Presencein a Community of InquiryPatrick R. LowenthalBoise State University@plowenthalJoni DunlapUniversity of Colorado Denverpaper @
    2. 2. Our PaperIn press in a special issue inE-Learning and Digital MediaDownload @ @
    3. 3. Obsessed w/ Social Presence
    4. 4. Community of Inquiry
    5. 5. Social PresenceAffectiveExpressionOpenCommunicationGroupCohesionslides @
    6. 6. Measuring Social PresenceCodeSurveyvs.
    7. 7. Code DiscussionsCategories & Indicators of Social Presence
    8. 8. CoI Questionnaire• Arbaugh et al. (2008). Developing a community ofinquiry instrument: Testing a measure of theCommunity of Inquiry framework using a multi-institutional sample.• Swan et al. (2008). Validating a measurement toolof presence in online communities of inquiry.
    9. 9. Affective expressionslides @
    10. 10. Affective Expression14. Getting to know other courseparticipants gave me a sense ofbelonging in the course.15. I was able to form distinctimpressions of some courseparticipants.16. Online or web-basedcommunication is an excellentmedium for social interaction.• Expression ofEmotions• Use of humor• Self-Disclosure
    11. 11. Open communicationslides @
    12. 12. Open Communication17. I felt comfortable conversingthrough the online medium.18. I felt comfortableparticipating in the coursediscussions.19. I felt comfortable interactingwith other course participants.• Continuing a thread• Quoting from othermessages• Referring explicitly toother messages• Asking questions• Complimenting, expressing appreciation• Expressing agreement
    13. 13. Group cohesionslides @
    14. 14. Group Cohesion20. I felt comfortabledisagreeing with other courseparticipants while still maintaininga sense of trust.21. I felt that my point of view wasacknowledged by other courseparticipants.22. Online discussions help meto develop a sense ofcollaboration.• Vocatives• Addresses or refersto the group usinginclusive pronouns• Phatics /Salutations
    15. 15. Download Paper
    16. 16. Related References2009 -Tweeting the night away: Using Twitter to enhance social presence. Journal of Information Systems Education,20(2), 129-136.2010 - Defeating the Kobayashi Maru: Supporting student retention by balancing the needs of the many and the one.EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 33(4).2011a - Learning, unlearning, and relearning: Using Web 2.0 technologies to support the development of lifelonglearning skills. In E-infrastructures and technologies for lifelong learning: Next generation environments. Hershey, PA:IGI Global.2011b - Alternative structures for online discussions. In The online learning idea book: Proven ways to enhancetechnology-based and blended learning. San Francisco: press - The power of presence: Our quest for the right mix of social presence in online courses. In Real life distanceeducation: Case studies in practice. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.2009 - The evolution and influence of social presence theory on online learning. In Online education and adult learning:New frontiers for teaching practices. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.2012 - Social presence: What is it? How do we measure it? (Doctoral dissertation). University of Colorado Denver/2010 - From pixel on a screen to real person in your students’ lives: Establishing social presence using digitalstorytelling. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1-2), 70-72.2009 - Mixed research and online learning: Strategies for improvement. In Online education and adult learning: Newfrontiers for teaching practices. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.2010 - A mixed methods examination of instructor social presence in accelerated online courses. Presented at AERA.2009 - The changing nature of online communities of inquiry: An analysis of how discourse and time shapes students’perceptions of presence. Presented at AECT.