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ERIC Number: EJ1102673
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1492-3831
Increasing Social Presence in Online Learning through Small Group Discussions
Akcaoglu, Mete; Lee, Eunbae
International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, v17 n3 p1-17 Apr 2016
Social presence is difficult to achieve, but an imperative component of online learning. In this study, we investigated the effect of group size on students' perceptions of social presence in two graduate-level online courses, comparing small group versus whole class discussions. Our results indicated that when in small group discussions, students perceived a higher level of social presence in terms of sociability, t(32) = 3.507, p = 0.001; social space, t(29) = 3.074, p = 0.005; and group cohesion, t(32) = 3.550, p = 0.001. We discuss how placing students in small and permanent discussion groups can augment social presence. Designers and educators of online learning can strategically modify group size to promote social presence in asynchronous online discussions.
Athabasca University. 1200, 10011 - 109 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3S8, Canada. Tel: 780-421-2536; Fax: 780-497-3416; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A