Title: The impact of online tasks and social relationships on social presence

Authors: Gayle A. Roberts

Addresses: Ironwood Research Centers, 6111 E. Arbor Ave., Mesa, AZ 85206, USA

Abstract: Task types and social relationships are critical factors that impact social presence in online learning environments. This study is to examine how task types and social relationships affect social presence in online learning environments. The results demonstrate that affection, information, familiarity, and trust social relationships exert a positive impact on social presence while service, status, assertive/acquiescent, and conflict relationships exert a negative impact. Task types, generate, choose, and social tasks appear to exert a positive impact on social presence while negotiating/conflict tasks exert a negative impact. The findings suggest three dimensions to increase the level of social presence: building collaborative learning, fostering Community of Practice (CoP), and increasing individualised communication.

Keywords: online learning communities; social relationships; online tasks; social presence; trust; social interaction; e-learning; web-based communities; collaborative learning; individualised communication; communities of practice.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2007.013665

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2007 Vol.17 No.2/3, pp.226 - 243

Published online: 10 May 2007 *

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