Exploring social immediacy/intimacy in fully online learning communities through synchronous tools.
Tuesday, June 26 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Location: Koepelzaal
Presider: Douglass Scott, Waseda University, Japan
Abstract: Facial expressions and body language lie at the heart of the way we convey the emotional content of our interactions. The degree to which these aspects are negated in online learning environments is currently a point of debate in the field. In Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC) based programs, the closeness that students report (Childs, vanOostveen, Clarkson & Flynn, 2015) is proposed to be the result of a combination of: (a) the use of synchronous video/audio; (b) decreased transactional distance (Moore, 1993); and (c) the types of interactions that are cultivated in the online environments used in FOLC-based programs. This presentation will report out on the initial findings from an investigation that examined an aspect of social presence, specifically the role of facial expressions, body language and words in supporting a collaborative online environment that fostered closeness and addressed the “dialog” component of transactional distance in FOLC-based programs. After taking part in this session, it is expected that the audience will be better able to: (1) discuss the role of synchronous experiences in online courses and programs; (2) appreciate how a FOLC-based program can be created, and (3) reflect on the implications for students and educators of using synchronous tools to foster online collaboration and connections.