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AERA 2011 -- Investigating Students' Perceptions of Various Instructional Strategies to Establish Social Presence

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Social presence theory explains how people present themselves as “real” through a communication medium and is a popular construct used to describe how people socially interact in online courses. Because of its intuitive appeal, educators have experimented with different ways to establish social presence in their online courses. Over the years, we have tried many strategies—from rich threaded discussions to personal one-on-one emails to digital stories to using social networking tools like Twitter. Over time, we began questioning how students perceive all of the strategies we use (in other words, what strategies were leading to the most bang for our buck). In this paper, we describe our investigation of students’ perceptions of various instructional strategies to establish social presence.

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AERA 2011 -- Investigating Students' Perceptions of Various Instructional Strategies to Establish Social Presence

  1. 1. Investigating Students' Perceptions of Various Instructional Strategies to Establish Social Presence<br />Patrick Lowenthal ~ patrick.lowenthal@ucdenver.eduJoni Dunlap ~ joni.dunlap@ucdenver.eduSlides & Paper @ slideshare.net/plowenthal <br />
  2. 2. Background<br />
  3. 3. High Tech<br />& <br />Low Tech<br />
  4. 4. Synchronous Sessions<br />
  5. 5. Personalized Videos <br />
  6. 6. Superhero Powers <br />
  7. 7. What Makes You Rock? <br />
  8. 8. 5-Minute Phone Call<br />
  9. 9. What’s Happening? <br />
  10. 10. The Impetus<br />“Twitter has been a great way for me to check in with everyone who is using it. <br /> I found out how other’s were feeling about school, how life was treating them, how their jobs and families were doing. This is something much more intimate than mandatory weekly discussions...”<br />
  11. 11. Our Big Question<br />What are students’ perceptions of various social-presence strategies used in an online course?<br />
  12. 12. Overview<br />
  13. 13. Phase 1<br />
  14. 14. Phase 1 Method<br />“What aspects of the course helped you feel connected to your course colleagues? To me?”<br />
  15. 15. Phase 1 Results<br />“I really LOVE twittering with everyone. It really made me feel like we knew each other more and were actually in class together.”<br />“The Soundtrack of Your Life: It was a creative way to introduce ourselves to each other that communicated something about ourselves instead of using words. I thought the Google Doc activities were an excellent way to express ourselves freely for others to read freely about our expressions.”<br />
  16. 16. Phase 1 Results<br />“In general, the discussions helped me feel connected to my course colleagues. The discussions also helped me feel connected to you (Joni). In addition, the feedback I received on my projects helped quite a bit as well.”<br />“The structured discussions that we had always help me, sometimes I may miss a point that someone else may see, so I like that and the various points other students make. I also like the peer review on the projects, I think that helped me feel connected. I think you did a great job with interacting with the discussions and any email I sent you answered quickly, so I felt connected.”<br />
  17. 17. Phase 1 Results<br />“The part of the course that made me feel connected to the other students was the peer reviews. The aspect of the course that helped me feel connected to the instructor was the feedback I received from the instructor and the follow-up email exchanges.”<br />“I really liked being an integral part of reviewing.  I felt (especially in certain assignment) that I really got some insight into how the other students interpreted the assignments and put their own life (either work or other parts of their life) into the assignment.”  <br />
  18. 18. Phase 2<br />
  19. 19. Phase 2 Method<br />Adapted the CoI survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008).<br />Eliminated cognitive presence questions; added questions focused on students’ perceptions of instructional strategies / technologies. <br />Sample included students completing a graduate certificate in eLearning, M.A. in eLearning, or a M.A. in Instructional Technology.<br />Administered the survey to 4 different sections of completely online courses (fall 2009, spring 2010, & summer2010)<br />37 students completed the survey; 36.6% response rate  <br />
  20. 20. Phase 2 Method<br />Adapted the CoI survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008).<br />Eliminated cognitive presence questions; added questions focused on students’ perceptions of instructional strategies / technologies. <br />Sample included students completing a graduate certificate in eLearning, M.A. in eLearning, or a M.A. in Instructional Technology.<br />Administered the survey to 4 different sections of completely online courses (fall 2009, spring 2010, & summer2010)<br />37 students completed the survey; 36.6% response rate  <br />
  21. 21. Phase 2 Method<br />Adapted the CoI survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008).<br />Eliminated cognitive presence questions; added questions focused on students’ perceptions of instructional strategies / technologies. <br />Sample included students completing a graduate certificate in eLearning, M.A. in eLearning, or a M.A. in Instructional Technology.<br />Administered the survey to 4 different sections of completely online courses (fall 2009, spring 2010, & summer2010)<br />37 students completed the survey; 36.6% response rate  <br />
  22. 22. Phase 2 Method<br />Adapted the CoI survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008).<br />Eliminated cognitive presence questions; added questions focused on students’ perceptions of instructional strategies / technologies. <br />Sample included students completing a graduate certificate in eLearning, M.A. in eLearning, or a M.A. in Instructional Technology.<br />Administered the survey to 4 different sections of completely online courses (fall 2009, spring 2010, & summer 2010)<br />37 students completed the survey; 36.6% response rate  <br />
  23. 23. Phase 2 Method<br />Adapted the CoI survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008).<br />Eliminated cognitive presence questions; added questions focused on students’ perceptions of instructional strategies / technologies. <br />Sample included students completing a graduate certificate in eLearning, M.A. in eLearning, or a M.A. in Instructional Technology.<br />Administered the survey to 4 different sections of completely online courses (fall 2009, spring 2010, & summer2010)<br />37 students completed the survey; 36.6% response rate  <br />
  24. 24. Phase 2 Results<br /> <br />
  25. 25. Phase 2 Results<br />Top 5 ~ Connected to Instructor <br />
  26. 26. Phase 2 Results<br />Bottom 5 ~ Connected to Instructor <br />
  27. 27. Phase 2 Results<br />Top 5 ~ Connected to Peers <br />
  28. 28. Phase 2 Results<br />Bottom 5 ~ Connected to Peers <br />
  29. 29. Phase 2 Results<br />Most & Least Effective ~ Connected to Instructor <br />Most Effective: Phone calls & Screencast feedback <br />Least Effective: Twitter & the “Top 100 of Design Guidelines” Google Docs activity <br /> <br />
  30. 30. Phase 2 Results<br />Most & Least Effective ~ Connected to Peers <br />Most Effective: Digital storytelling, previous relationships with peers, & open access to review peers projects <br />Least Effective: Twitter <br />Note: All of the strategies except Twitter received a mean score of above neutral (2.0 on a 4-point scale)<br />
  31. 31. Phase 3<br />
  32. 32. Phase3 Methods<br />Follow up semi-structured Interviews (3 highest & 3 lowest scoring )<br />
  33. 33. Phase3 Results<br />1. Corroborated Phase 2 results<br />--Previous relationships, feedback, one-on-one communication<br />2. Clarified Phase 2 results<br />--Previous relationships & group work are only <br /> helpful if positive<br /> --Twitter isn’t bad.<br />3. Questioned quantifying Social Presence<br />
  34. 34. Concluding Thoughts<br />
  35. 35. Implications<br />Provide personal, individualized feedback. <br />Provide opportunities for students to build relationships through collaborative work and sharing. <br />Being accessible. <br />
  36. 36. Patrick Lowenthal patrick.lowenthal@ucdenver.eduJoni Dunlapjoni.dunlap@ucdenver.eduSlides &Paper @www.slideshare.net/plowenthal <br />Contact Us<br />

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