Lecturers’ Social Presence and Personality in the Online Environment: The Perceptions of Off-Campus Postgraduate and On and Off-Campus Undergraduate Management Students

Lecturers’ Social Presence and Personality in the Online Environment: The Perceptions of Off-Campus Postgraduate and On and Off-Campus Undergraduate Management Students

Fredy-Roberto Valenzuela (University of New England, Australia), Josie Fisher (University of New England, Australia) and Sue Whale (University of New England, Australia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4205-8.ch028
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

The first aim of this chapter is to present a literature review regarding two very important concepts for the online learning environment: social presence and personality. The second aim is to present the findings of an exploratory study that measured students’ perceptions regarding different aspects of their experience with the online learning environment including social presence and personality of lecturers in the online environment in particular. An online survey (developed using Qualtrix) was emailed to 474 off-campus postgraduate and 699 undergraduate students who are pursuing a coursework degree in management. To date, 62 responses from postgraduate and 41 from undergraduate students have been received, which indicates a response rate of 13 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. Results show that social presence is not being successfully developed by lecturers, with discussion boards and chat rooms showing relatively low evaluations. In terms of lecturers’ personalities in the online environment, results show that some lecturers do not have a clear structure for their discussion boards and chat rooms and that the language used by lecturers in the online environment (especially discussion boards and chat rooms) differs from their language in face-to-face contexts. Other online learning tools, such as special podcasts and special vodcasts, show less difference in the personality of lecturers in the online and face-to-face contexts, especially in terms of language and tone of voice used by lecturers.
Chapter Preview
Top

Literature Review

Definition of Online Education

The literature generally refers to “online” education or learning when the offering includes the use of technology in education and training. However, “online” learning in many contexts may actually refer to a blended mode of education, as the term is often not clarified in terms of being fully “online.” The University of Western Australia (2011, n.p.) describe an online learning environment as one which “goes beyond the replication of learning events that have traditionally occurred in the classroom and are now made available through the Internet” and further “an online learning environment can supplement or complement a traditional face-to-face learning environment or it may provide a complete learning package that requires little face-to-face contact” (University of Western Australia, 2011, n.p.).

Rovai & Jordan (2004) describe blended learning as a flexible approach which offers some of the conveniences of fully online courses with some face-to-face contact. They identify this approach as having the potential to be more robust in educational experience than fully online or traditional education. Similarly, Garrison and Cleveland Innes (2005) distinguish online, face-to-face, or a blending of both.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset