Community matters: Social presence and learning outcomes

Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 2013;13(1):77-86


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

ISSN: 1527-9316 (Online)

Publisher: Indiana University Office of Scholarly Publishing

Society/Institution: Indiana University Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching (FACET)

LCC Subject Category: Education: Theory and practice of education

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Carol Hostetter


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 48 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p>The study examines the relationship between social presence and students’ learning outcomes. An emerging body of research connects social presence with learning outcomes in online coursework. Social presence is the “degree to which a person is perceived as a ‘real person’ in mediated communication” (Gunwardena &amp; Zittle, 1997, p.9). The study of 121 student participants addresses the following questions: What is the evidence of social presence in students’ communication in an online discussion forum and in an attitudinal survey? 2) What pedagogical methods affect students’ perceptions of social presence? and 3) What is the relationship between social presence and students’ learning outcomes?  The regression model revealed that students with higher demonstrations of social presence in discussion forum posts had statistically significantly higher ratings on the CAT. This seems to indicate that social presence influences student outcomes on written assignments.</p>