Exploration of Students’ Social Presence and Discussion Interaction Patterns in Online and Blended Course Sections
Abstract: This paper is a report on the findings of a study conducted on a graduate level educational psychology course with online and blended sections. Social network analysis was used to discover differences in interaction patterns between the two groups. Findings indicate that participants in the blended section had greater reciprocal interaction patterns in the online discussions than did the participants in the fully online section. One item of the Community of Inquiry questionnaire was significant. Participants in the blended section agreed with the statement “getting to know other course participants gave me a sense of belonging in the course” as compared to those in the fully online section. Perhaps, this higher sense of belonging among the students in the blended section allowed them to sustain greater interaction with each other in the discussions. Further research is recommended.