AECT 2012 -- Sampling Trends in Social Presence Research

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Research on online learning continues to grow. However, too many studies--including some of our own--focus too much on convenient samples rather than investigating online learning in a variety of contexts. In this presentation, we present the results of our investigation into sampling trends in an effort to illustrate how the sampling decisions made by researchers of online learning can be limiting what we “know” about online learning.

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AECT 2012 -- Sampling Trends in Social Presence Research

  1. 1. The Prevalence ofConvenient Sampling { An investigation into sampling trends in online learning research (specifically social presence) Patrick R. Lowenthal Boise State University @plowenthal Ross Perkins Boise State University
  2. 2. Angst…“How do youwant to changethe world?” David Wiley
  3. 3. Growth of Online Learning 5.6 million post-secondary students Source: Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010
  4. 4. Growth of Online Learning Source: Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010
  5. 5. I <3 Social PresenceHow weinteract &connect withothers onlinematters
  6. 6. Caution…A work inprogress…
  7. 7. Online Learning ResearchResearch on online learning is regularly characterized as lowquality (Amiel & Reeves, 2008; Bernard et al., 2004; Reeves,1995).For instance, Means et al. (2009) concluded that many of thestudies in their meta-analysis “suffered from weaknesses suchas small sample sizes; failure to report retention rates forstudents in the conditions being contrasted; and, in manycases, potential bias stemming from the authors’ dual roles asexperimenters and instructors” (p. xviii).Bernard et al. (2004) also pointed out that research on onlinelearning is “severely wanting in terms of depth of reporting”(p. 407).
  8. 8. Online Learning ResearchResearch on online learning is regularly characterized as lowquality (Amiel & Reeves, 2008; Bernard et al., 2004; Reeves,1995).For instance, Means et al. (2009) concluded that many of thestudies in their meta-analysis “suffered from weaknesses suchas small sample sizes; failure to report retention rates forstudents in the conditions being contrasted; and, in manycases, potential bias stemming from the authors’ dual roles asexperimenters and instructors” (p. xviii).Bernard et al. (2004) also pointed out that research on onlinelearning is “severely wanting in terms of depth of reporting”(p. 407).
  9. 9. Online Learning ResearchResearch on online learning is regularly characterized as lowquality (Amiel & Reeves, 2008; Bernard et al., 2004; Reeves,1995).For instance, Means et al. (2009) concluded that many of thestudies in their meta-analysis “suffered from weaknesses suchas small sample sizes; failure to report retention rates forstudents in the conditions being contrasted; and, in manycases, potential bias stemming from the authors’ dual roles asexperimenters and instructors” (p. xviii).Bernard et al. (2004) also pointed out that research on onlinelearning is “severely wanting in terms of depth of reporting”(p. 407).
  10. 10. Bias ?Lowenthal, P. R., Wilson, B., & Parrish,P. (2009, October). Context matters: Adescription and typology of the onlinelearning landscape. Paper presented atthe 2009 AECT InternationalConvention, Louisville, KY.http://www.patricklowenthal.com/publications/AECT2009TypologyOnlineLearning.pdf
  11. 11. Balance
  12. 12. MethodThis study is descriptive in nature.RQ: What are the sampling trends ofresearchers who study social presenceand online learning?
  13. 13. MethodWe searched the following using the keywords “social presence” and “onlinelearning”:• Ebsco-- Academic Search Premier, Applied Science & Tech full text (H.W. Wilson),• Communication & Mass Media Complete,• Education Research Complete,• ERIC,• PsycINFO
  14. 14. Method• Initially found 194 results (1994-2011)• After deleting duplicates, 156 studies• Couldn’t locate 16 dissertations• Couldn’t locate 11 journal articles• Couldn’t locate 4 journal articles• Removed 10 articles that were reviews
  15. 15. Type of Manuscript• Conference papers: 4• Dissertations: 23• Journal articles: 74
  16. 16. Publication Outlet• Journal of Interactive Online learning: 8• Internet and Higher Ed: 8• International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning: 4• Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks: 4• Computers & Education: 4
  17. 17. Type of Study 32% 37% Qualitative Quantitative Mixed 31%
  18. 18. Subject 6% 6% 9% Education Buisness Nursing Psychology 79%
  19. 19. Course Format 19% Blended Both 15% F2F Online 65% 1%
  20. 20. Level 6% High School 4 High School Undergraduate 25 39% Undergraduate Graduate 35 55% Graduate
  21. 21. Sample Size10 under 1143 under 5052 under 10076 100 or more
  22. 22. So what???
  23. 23. Contact Me email @ patricklowenthal@boisestate.edu

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