Creating an Active Social Presence in the Online Learning Environment
Abstract: As faculty go beyond the technical mechanics of creating an online course, they are able to more fully focus on developing an intentional learning environment where students are able to actively engage in the learning process. The concept of social presence, which fits well with social constructivist learning theories, offers faculty an opportunity to consciously design online courses where students are able to actively interact with other students as they work collaboratively to solve problems, learn and apply course content, etc. In addition to helping design an online course that promotes a positive, active social presence for students, faculty also need to consciously create their own social presence as they interact with students. Studies have shown that both faculty presence and student presence can contribute significantly to a student’s perception of achievement and learning in an online course.