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Eurasian Journal of Educational Research
Print ISSN: 1302-597X & e-ISSN: 2528-8911
EJER | 2009 (Winter) Issue 34

Home > 2009 (Winter) Issue 34 > Social Presence in Synchronous Text-Based Computer-Mediated Communication
  Author : Sedat Akayo?lu, Arif Altun, Vance Stevens
  This abstract has been read 4604 times.

Title :
Social Presence in Synchronous Text-Based Computer-Mediated Communication

Abstract :

Abstract

Problem Statement: In recent years, the substantial technological development in various online environments has been used in educational environments. However, these online environments are still new for many teachers, researchers and students. Thus, researchers have attempted to determine the discourse patterns of these environments from different perspectives. Social presence is one of these dimensions; however, there has been little research on social presence in synchronous CMC environments. This study will contribute to the literature on social presence in synchronous CMC environments.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the discourse patterns of chat logs for the online community of practice, Webheads, in terms of social presence.

Methods: This is an ethnographic study with computer mediated discourse analysis. Chat sessions have been held and recorded weekly since 2001; however, this study specifically covered chat log data between August 2007 and August 2008. Five randomly selected sessions were analyzed. Three research questions were considered: (a) what categories are observed (b) what are the most frequently used functions of social presence, and (c) what are the least frequently used functions of social presence.

Findings and Results: It was concluded at the end of this study that five new functions should be added to the twelve in the previous taxonomy. These are “link sharing,” “gratitude,” “leave taking,” “pre-sequential leave taking” and “reply leave taking.” The most frequently used functions are found to be the “vocatives,” “expression of emotions” and “asking questions” and the least used functions are found to be “referring to others’ messages,” “quoting from others’ messages” and “continuing a thread.”

Conclusions and Recommendations: Teachers and students may benefit from an awareness of the discourse patterns of a synchronous text-based CMC environment as they relate to social presence. Teachers may become more conscious of the use of social presence functions in their online courses. Moreover, since five additional functions were observed, researchers may use this updated taxonomy in their own discourse analysis from the perspective of social presence. In thinking about further research, because an online community of practice may be composed of both new and old members, it might be interesting to observe the differences between these two groups.

Keywords: Social Presence, Discourse Analysis, Computer-Mediated Communication, Synchronous Text-Based Communication

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