Date of Award

7-12-2016

Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Learning, Leadership, and Community

Department

Department of Educational Leadership, Learning, and Curriculum

Committee Chair

Christie Sweeney

Committee Member

Annette M. Holba

Committee Member

Ethel Gaides

Committee Member

Gail Mears

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine strategies that could be implemented into an online course in order to create and maintain a sense of social presence between students and their professor and students and each other. A mixed methods study utilizing interviews, document analysis, and a survey was used to conduct the research. The study participants were graduate students enrolled in the fully online programs of library media specialist certification, the technology integrator certification, and the dual certification for both the library media specialist and technology integrator programs at Plymouth State University, as well as the directors of the programs. The results of the study indicated several strategies that could be implemented into online courses in order to create and maintain a sense of social presence between students and their professor and students and each other. The strategies were introductions, discussion forums, collaboration, and videos. This research can provide professors and instructional designers with guidelines on how to implement the strategies into online courses in order to create and maintain a sense of social presence between students and their professor and students and each other. Strategies for how to use introductions are; professor requires introductions to be completed during the first week that the course starts by both the professor and the students: introductions are created by using text (typing words) or by creating a video of the course participants introducing themselves to the other course participants: and professor provides questions or prompts for students to answer in their introductions. Strategies for how to use discussion forums are; professor initiates discussion forums with a prompt or with questions: both professor and students respond to the prompts and each other: professor responds to students in a timely manner: professor summarizes discussion forums: professor is present in the course: and professor creates a ‘water cooler’ discussion forum for students to initiate conversations. Strategies for how to use collaboration are; professor groups students based on similar backgrounds and interests: professor requires students to build upon an assignment together: professor requires students to complete an online writing assignment: and professor requires students to contribute to, and build a collection together. Strategies for how to use videos are; professor requires all course participants to create a video of themselves introducing themselves to the other course participants: professor creates a video highlighting discussion forums: professor uses videos to hold online office hours: and professor assigns collaboration projects that require students to use videos with each other.

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