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The Measurement of Social Presence in an Online Learning Environment Article

, George Washington University, United States

International Journal on E-Learning Volume 1, Number 2, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


Social presence is a critical social factor to be examined in distance education. The existing instrument, developed for non-computer-mediated communication, is unable to measure social presence in an online learning environment. Several studies have investigated social presence but an instrument appropriate for computer-mediated communication must be developed before cogent studies can be conducted. An analysis of the studies on social presence is accomplished leading to the development and validation of an instrument to measure social presence in the computer-mediated communication environment. This instrument was theoretically grounded in the dimensions derived from an extensive review of the literature and thus reflects a consensus of the perceptions of online social presence. The results indicate that social presence contains three dimensions, social context, online communication, and interactivity and, privacy.


Tu, C.H. (2002). The Measurement of Social Presence in an Online Learning Environment. International Journal on E-Learning, 1(2), 34-45. Norfolk, VA: AACE.


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