What Social Presence is, what it isn’t, and how to measure it: A work in progress

ID: 52850 Type: Full Paper: Research
  1. Joshua Weidlich, FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany
  2. Karel Kreijns and Kamakshi Rajagopal, Open University, Heerlen, Netherlands
  3. Theo Bastiaens, FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany

Tuesday, June 26 12:30 PM-1:00 PM Location: Oost View on map

Presider: Toshiyuki Maeda, Hannan University, Japan

Abstract: In educational settings that rely in large part on computer-mediated communication, like online learning and computer-supported collaborative learning, social presence is considered an important aspect of the learning experience. However, because there are many definitions and operationalizations in the literature, there is confusion as to what social presence actually is and how it affects learning in mediated spaces. In this paper, we argue for a clear definition that is rooted in its original conception by Short, Williams, & Christie (1976) emphasizing ‘realness’ of the other in the interaction. We present a social presence scale using Rasch analyses to validate the scale. Our findings are that this scale measures well those who have high perceptions of the ‘realness’ of the other whereas this is moderate for those who have only low perceptions of this ‘realness.’ Further improvement of the scale is, therefore, necessary.

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