The Emergence of Social Presence in Learning Communities

The Emergence of Social Presence in Learning Communities

Antônio Carlos Soares Martins (Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica de Januária/Fapemig, Brazil) and Junia de Carvalho Fidelis Braga (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-994-6.ch002
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Abstract

The discussions presented herein emerged from two empirical studies in progress:“Online Learning Communities in the Realm of Complexity” and “The Complexity of Learning Environments” in the Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil. One of the major pillars of both studies centers around Complexity Theory. Initially arising from the natural sciences, Complexity Theory has been gaining ground in the comprehension of human and social sciences. This chapter presents some ideas regarding the role of social presence in both blended and online learning environments, in line with the Community of Inquiry Framework (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). Moreover, the authors hope to contribute to a better understanding of patterns that emerge from social interactions as well as of the ideas embedded in learning communities as complex systems.
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Complexity And Applied Linguistics: Transdiciplinary Dialogs

At first glance, complexity is a phenomenon that encompasses a great quantity of interactions and interference among its agents. For Morin (1990), complexity effectively includes the interweaving of events, actions, interactions, retroactions, determinations, and random events that constitute our world, full of phenomena.

Complexity has its place in science due to research that has attempted to explain questions which challenge all conventional categories (Waldrop, 1992). Davis and Sumara (2006, p. ix) argue that “complexity thinking has captured the attention of many researchers whose studies reach across traditional boundaries.” Examples of phenomena under investigation in the education arena include:

  • How do social collectives work? The assumption that the actions and potentialities of social groups are sums of individual capacities has been challenged as it is becoming more evident that collectives can exceed the summed capacity of their members. What might this mean for classrooms, school boards, communities, and so on?

  • What is the role of emergent technologies in shaping personalities and possibilities? Children are able to integrate the latest technologies into their existences. What might this mean for formal education, in terms of the pragmatic activity and with regard to common understandings of the purposes of schooling?

In this direction, Complexity Theory in its transdisciplinary nature can assist in better understanding the events that take place in blended and online learning environments.

A complex system is dynamic, non-linear, open, and presents emergent properties. Moreover, this type of system is capable of adapting, which leads to self-organization, and ultimately to the emergence of new patterns and behaviors (Holland, 1997). An adaptive complex system is made up of agents who interact dynamically and adapt with one another as well as with the environment, as they seek mutual accommodation to optimize the benefits that will ensure their survival.

An ever-increasing number of articles over the past years have sought to analyze the second language acquisition process, as well as the language learning classroom in general, in the light of chaos and complexity theories (Cameron, 1999, 2004; Larsen-Freeman, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2006; Paiva, 2002, 2005a, 2006a, 2006b; Parreiras, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interactive Responses: This category of social presence, in terms of Community of Inquiry, refers to communication behaviors that provide evidence that others are attending, such as continuing a thread, quoting from others messages, asking questions, or complimenting and expressing appreciation.

Cognitive Presence: Defined by Garrison et al. (2000) as “the extent to which the participants in any particular configuration of a community of inquiry are able to construct meaning through sustained communication.”

Cohesive Responses: This category encompasses communication behaviors that build and sustain a sense of group commitment, such as greetings and salutations, and group or personal reference.

Learning Community: “…dynamic whole that emerges when a group of people share common practices, are independent, make decisions jointly, identify themselves with something larger than the sum of their individual relationships, and make long-term commitments to the well being of the group” (Shaffer & Anundsen, 1993, as cited in Palloff & Pratt, 1999).

Social Presence: Concept defined by Garrison et al. (2000) as “the ability of learners to project themselves socially and emotionally in a community of inquiry.” Garrison (2006) expanded this notion, defining it as “the ability to project one’s self and establish purposeful relationships.”

Blended Learning: Refers to combining instructional modalities (or delivery media), combining instructional methods, and combining online and face-to-face instruction (Graham et al., 2003). This term has been used in the e-learning literature to refer specifically to educational experiences that combine face-to-face conversation classes with online classes, thus reducing the time spent inside a classroom. This interaction seeks to maximize the potential of both environments.

Teaching Presence: Involves designing and facilitating the educational experience (Garrison et al., 2000).

Affective Responses: This category of social presence, in terms of Community of Inquiry, involves personal expressions of emotions, use of humor, and self-disclosure.

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Norbert Pachler
Preface
Rita de Cássia Veiga Marriott, Patricia Lupion Torres
Acknowledgment
Rita de Cássia Veiga Marriott, Patricia Lupion Torres
Chapter 1
Pascual Pérez-Paredes, Maria Sánchez-Tornel
The research we report is a pilot study carried to test English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students’ reception of an electronic foreign language... Sample PDF
Understanding E-Skills in the FLT Context
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Chapter 2
Antônio Carlos Soares Martins, Junia de Carvalho Fidelis Braga
The discussions presented herein emerged from two empirical studies in progress:“Online Learning Communities in the Realm of Complexity” and “The... Sample PDF
The Emergence of Social Presence in Learning Communities
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Chapter 3
CALL as Action  (pages 39-52)
Vilson J. Leffa
The objective of this chapter is to offer a new approach for research in Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). It starts with the assumption... Sample PDF
CALL as Action
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Chapter 4
Vera Lucia Menezes de Oliveira e Paiva, Adail Sebastiao Rodrigues-Junior
This pedagogical and methodological chapter aims at contributing to increasing Web teachers’ awareness of the different ways teachers and students... Sample PDF
Investigating Interaction in an EFL Online Environment
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Chapter 5
Euline Cutrim Schmid
This chapter discusses the concept of integrated CALL by drawing upon data collected for a PhD research project that investigated the impact of... Sample PDF
Interactive Whiteboards and the Normalization of CALL
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Chapter 6
Alexandra Okada
This chapter presents new methodologies designed to facilitate language acquisition in open learning communities via open educational resources and... Sample PDF
OpenLearn and Knowledge Maps for Language Learning
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Chapter 7
Ria Hanewald
This chapter provides an overview of the field of digital objects and repositories. It introduces the concepts of digital objects and repositories... Sample PDF
Learning Objects: Projects, Potentials, and Pitfalls
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Chapter 8
Patrica Lupion Torres, Rita de Cassia Veiga Marriott, Andreia Ferreira Ramos
This chapter presents the experience of production and use of learning objects (LOs) for English-language learning at the Pontificia Universidade... Sample PDF
English-Language Teaching with Learning Objects at PUCPR
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Chapter 9
Zhuo Li, Feng Liu, Jeff Boyer
The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the present use of e-gaming in language acquisition along with its potential and challenges. We review... Sample PDF
Amusing Minds for Joyful Learning through E-Gaming
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Chapter 10
Jowati Juhary
This chapter analyses the challenges in adapting a non-language learning courseware (NLLC) for a military learning environment. The National Defense... Sample PDF
A Non-Language Learning Courseware and its Challenges
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Chapter 11
Marcus Vinicius dos Santos, Isaac Woungang, Moses Nyongwa
The increasing importance of e-learning has been a boosting element for the emergence of Internet-based educational tools. As we move into the... Sample PDF
A Pliant-Based Software Tool for Courseware Development
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Chapter 12
Aysegül Daloglu, Meltem Baturay, Soner Yildirim
This chapter outlines how the constructivist approach can be implemented in Web-based vocabulary teaching, characteristics of effective Web-based... Sample PDF
Designing a Constructivist Vocabulary Learning Material
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Chapter 13
Yasunori Nishina
This chapter suggests an effective method for lexical studies using Moodle within the framework of data-driven learning based on parallel... Sample PDF
A Lexical Study Based on Corpora, DDL, and Moodle
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Chapter 14
Vander Viana, Sonia Zyngier
Like the advent of the telescope, computers today can provide ways of looking into language patterns that cannot be seen with the naked eye. From... Sample PDF
EFL through the Digital Glass of Corpus Linguistics
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Chapter 15
Jing Wang
This chapter introduces a series of studies carried out with intermediate learners of Chinese regarding the reading of authentic e-materials with... Sample PDF
Electronic Strategies to Improve Chinese Reading Skills
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Chapter 16
Margaret Murphy, Cristina Poyatos Matas
This chapter argues that politeness is an important component of e-mail language. Many people are uncertain about how to make their e-mail polite... Sample PDF
Politeness in Intercultural E-Mail Communication
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Chapter 17
Neny Isharyanti
Studies in computer-mediated communication (CMC) have shown that it has the potential to provide opportunities for ESL learners to actively... Sample PDF
Interactional Modifications in Internet Chatting
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Chapter 18
Sedat Akayoglu, Arif Altun
This chapter aims at describing the patterns of negotiation of meaning functions in text-based synchronous computer-mediated communication by using... Sample PDF
The Functions of Negotiation of Meaning in Text-Based CMC
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Chapter 19
Esrom Adriano Irala, Patrica Lupion Torres
This chapter belongs to the context of the computer-mediated communication (CMC) for language teaching and learning. Since the introduction of this... Sample PDF
The Use of the CMC Tool AMANDA in the Teaching of English
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Chapter 20
Christine Rosalia, Lorena Llosa
This chapter reports on an instrument that was developed to formatively assess the quality of feedback that second language students give to one... Sample PDF
Assessing the Quality of Online Peer Feedback in L2 Writing
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Chapter 21
Betty Rose Facer, M’hammed Abdous, Margaret M. Camarena
As part of an initiative to enhance the humanities’ use of emerging technologies, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Old... Sample PDF
The Impact of Academic Podcasting on Students' Learning Outcomes
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Chapter 22
Mahieddine Djoudi
The use of the mobile devices in language learning has been developed at a very high speed in the last years. Thus, we are witnessing many research... Sample PDF
Listening Comprehension of Languages with Mobile Devices
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Chapter 23
Huw Jarvis
This chapter reports on a quantitative study that examines how language students make use of an extensive range of computer-based materials (CBMs)... Sample PDF
Computers and Independent Study: Student Perspectives
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Chapter 24
Renata Chylinski, Ria Hanewald
This chapter reports on a study undertaken on the impact of pedagogical and technological innovations in language teaching and language learning... Sample PDF
Creating Supportive Environments for CALL Teacher Autonomy
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Chapter 25
Mar Gutiérrez-Colon Plana
Many language teachers, students, and institutions of virtual learning environments are well acquainted with the feelings of loneliness and... Sample PDF
Frustration in Virtual Learning Environments
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Chapter 26
Sarah Guth, Corrado Petrucco
This chapter describes how the social software tools that characterize Web 2.0, such as wikis and blogs, can be used as a valid substitute for more... Sample PDF
Social Software and Language Acquisition
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Chapter 27
Bryan Carter, Dayton Elseth
Within academia, distance learning as an approach to education has its share of skeptics. Regardless of how some feel about the methodology, it has... Sample PDF
The Usefulness of Second Life for Language Learning
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Chapter 28
Irene Mamakou
Interest in the integration of language learning with knowledge/content construction is growing around the world. In this line, an instructional... Sample PDF
Project-Based Instruction for ESP in Higher Education
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Chapter 29
Ma Camino Bueno Alastuey
The adaptation to the European Space of Higher Education and to the new demands of the labor market has produced a shift in university education... Sample PDF
WebCT Design and Users' Perceptions in English for Agriculture
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Chapter 30
Heli Simon, Päivö Laine, Ann Seppänen, Ana Barata, Carlos Vaz de Carvalho
This chapter presents the tutoring methodology adopted in an e-learning language course for students in vocational training and higher education as... Sample PDF
The LAFEC Experience for Language Skills Acquisition
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Chapter 31
Christian Swertz, Rosa Schultz, Katharina Toifl
This chapter reports the concept development and evaluation results from the project LANCELOT (LANguage learning with CErtified Live Online... Sample PDF
Language Teaching in Live Online Environments
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Chapter 32
Astrid Gesche
This chapter provides a basis for thinking about the dynamics and boundaries of foreign language learning in virtual learning communities of the... Sample PDF
Adapting to Virtual Third-Space Language Learning Futures
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Chapter 33
Chaka Chaka
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Portable Handheld Language Learning from CALL MALL to PALL
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About the Contributors