A Study of the Predictive Relationship between Online Social Presence and ONLE Interaction

A Study of the Predictive Relationship between Online Social Presence and ONLE Interaction

Chih-Hsiung Tu (Northern Arizona University, USA), Cherng-Jyh Yen (Old Dominion University, USA), J. Michael Blocher (Northern Arizona University, USA) and Junn-Yih Chan (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5942-1.ch090


Open Network Learning Environments (ONLE) are online networks that afford learners the opportunity to participate in creative content endeavors, personalized identity projections, networked mechanism management, and effective collaborative community integration by applying Web 2.0 tools in open environments. It supports social interaction by integrating User-Generated Content, Participatory Web, digital identities, social and networking linkages, and collaborative learning community to allow learners manage and tailor their social presence. The purposes of this study were to assess the predictive relationship between online social presence and overall ONLE's social interaction and examine the predictive relationships between online social presence and four dimensions of ONLE's interaction (i.e., cognitive, social, networking, and integration). The results of this study did not support the role of online social presence as a predictor for overall ONLE's social interaction. Although social presence can serve as a predictor for networking and integration dimensions, social presence cannot serve as a predictor for cognitive and social dimensions. This study suggests CMC and ONLE have different dynamics in social interaction. ONLE focuses on “social and “networking” linkages to transform online learners into “network learners” to project their ideal and preferred “network social presence” rather than online social presence.
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Tu, Blocher, and Roberts (2008) proposed four dimensions as constructs to conceptualize social interaction in ONLEs: cognitive, social, networking, and integration. These constructs represent different social interactions in ONLE related to online socio-cultural learning.

The cognitive dimension focuses on the process of the individual thinking about their engagement in and the culture within a meta-cognitive element. Learners think about what, how, and to whom they will contribute their contents through interactions. In ONLE, learners are commonly engaged in creating, editing, reflecting, organizing, remixing, and sharing their own and/or’ content of others (Greenhow et al., 2009). In collaborative wiki instructions, learners are engaged in creating, modifying, organizing, remixing, and sharing the learning process collaboratively with their teammates and other digital citizens as part of open educational resources (OERs). Network learners in ONLE do not consume learning content solely; they create and edit learning content collaboratively with other network learners. Additionally, while creating and editing content collaboratively, network learners “remix” identified network learning content to generate a new set of content with their creative ideas to personalize their learning. Remix is composed of processes that select cultural network artifacts and combine and manipulate them into new kinds of creative blends (Knobel & Lankshear, 2008). The Digital remix process makes the learning process more personalized, meaningful, and authentic. Personal author, compiler, or editor name(s); click on any author to run a new search on that name.

Social dimension concerns the individual and the social contexts which constitute the relationships between individual, social, and cultural environments. In ONLE, learners engage in creating, and updating their profiles to maintain and manage their digital identities (Ducate & Lomicka, 2008) and social identities (Rogers & Lea, 2005), such as personal profiles, becoming friends, circles, fans, or followers, to build digital social relationships. Digital and social identities are the foundations of social relationships. Learners in ONLE frequently create and update their digital profiles with personal information, pictures, friend networks, etc. These digital profiles become part of their digital identities and are the forms that Goffman (1959) would call “self-presentation,” projecting ideal self images. In ONLE, some learners assume a more active approach by regulating and controlling information in social interaction, such as post and update their current status on Facebook, Twitter, reply to the status of others, or blogging about their thoughts, etc. These social interactions become digital prints and are perceived as social identities.

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