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  1. 1. A study of social presence in blended social work education Professor Walter LaMendola, PhD University of Denver
  2. 2. Council On Social Work Education (USA) <ul><li>focus on e-learning & practice </li></ul><ul><li>a special national project </li></ul><ul><li>a subject of significance </li></ul><ul><li>to the US social work profession </li></ul>
  3. 3. Components of Our Project <ul><li>Comparing different forms of social work practice class delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty development process </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational requirements for social work e-learning programming </li></ul><ul><li>Measures of student information literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Measures of student learning outcomes </li></ul>
  4. 4. Presentation Today <ul><li>Introduce conceptual model </li></ul><ul><li>Examine our study of social work e-learning in terms of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the development of social presence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>community of inquiry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and communities of practice related to the student's field experience. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Present preliminary data </li></ul>
  5. 5. Elements of an Educational Experience, Figure 1 from L. Rourke, et. al. (2001) Assessing Social Presence In Asynchronous Text-based Computer Conferencing , JDE.
  6. 6. Intersection of Community of Inquiry and Practice <ul><li>Community of Inquiry: Critical thought about practice takes place </li></ul><ul><li>Community of Practice: Human values and ethics in action situate theory </li></ul><ul><li>Community Community </li></ul><ul><li>of of </li></ul><ul><li>Inquiry Practice </li></ul>
  7. 7. Stephen Powell (2007)
  8. 8. Practical learning From: Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T. (2004) e-Learning in the 21 st Century, p 57.
  9. 9. Communities of Practice <ul><li>Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis </li></ul><ul><li>From: Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002) Cultivating Communities of Practice, p. 4 </li></ul>
  10. 10. From Wenger (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning as a social system
  11. 11. Practices Learning From Andrew Cox (2005) What are communities of Learning? Journal of Information Science 31,6, p 529
  13. 13. Community * Range Mean Median S.D. All participants (N = 89) Connectedness 28 26.71 28 7.029 Learning 31 29.84 31 6.765 Community 56 56.55 58 12.681 * As measured by the Rovai Classroom Community Scale (2002)
  14. 14. Community /Social Sense <ul><li>Classroom experience demands reflection and reflexivity, which is </li></ul><ul><li>Based on social and intellectual needs and interactions of practitioners and students, who are </li></ul><ul><li>An embodied practice community that situate shared values and ethics </li></ul>
  15. 15. Social Presence <ul><li>Community is emotive; affective bonding (Etzioni) </li></ul><ul><li>A sense of “being there”, being situated, embodied </li></ul><ul><li>Forms social identity </li></ul><ul><li>A social context that includes cues, non-verbal expressions, movements </li></ul>Community is social
  16. 16. Creating Social Presence <ul><li>How do we vary social presence in social work education to support practitioner development? </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities of self disclosure </li></ul><ul><li>Spontaneity and humor </li></ul><ul><li>Creating awe </li></ul><ul><li>Expressing emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Forms of discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Who are our community members becoming; how are their practice identities formed? Field Integration Seminar included </li></ul>
  17. 17. Measuring Social Presence <ul><li>Analysis of classroom discussions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coding for social presence (Garrison et al) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Richardson & Swan (2003) measure </li></ul><ul><li>Short, Christie, & Williams (1976) measure </li></ul><ul><li>Student and faculty interviews </li></ul>
  18. 18. Social Presence <ul><ul><li>Short et al (1976) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Studies have shown it to be robust in measuring social presence (Biacco et al 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Semantic differential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Warm, Sensitive, Large, Beautiful, Personal, Colorful, Open, Active, Sociable </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Social Presence <ul><li>Mean </li></ul><ul><li>Face to face 5.34 </li></ul><ul><li>Blended 4.32 </li></ul><ul><li>Blended </li></ul><ul><li>Field 5.43 </li></ul>
  20. 20. Preliminary discussion analysis <ul><li>Blended field more comments by students </li></ul><ul><li>Blended field lengthier comments by students </li></ul><ul><li>Students comments affective </li></ul>
  21. 21. Sample of Qualitative Results <ul><li>What is their perception of their learning? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The field experience was the most beneficial to me ...having other students share their experience...The field instructor had a lot of experience that she was able to share with us. It is hard to pass up discussions... I do not think a student can get much out of reading without experience and discussion with others... Forming a sense of community, I learn better through experiential learning.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which aspects were most effective for facilitating social presence? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The field experience was the most beneficial, because it forced me to get out and experience issues that I hadn't before... I haven't taken the time to interact as much as I would like to but I know that people would've been available for more interaction if I'd taken the effort. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Possible future considerations <ul><li>More time in field based learning centers </li></ul><ul><li>More student use of technology, multimedia to communicate experience and practical learning </li></ul><ul><li>More co-teaching with field supervisors, using video conferencing </li></ul><ul><li>Courses offered from the field site </li></ul>