About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5806-5813
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0307

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

FACEBOOK, CANVAS AND SOCIAL PRESENCE IN ONLINE DISCUSSIONS

M. Johannesen, L. Mifsud, L. Øgrim

Oslo & Akershus University of Applied Sciences (NORWAY)
This paper focuses on student discussion fora in an online Masters’ programme in ICT-Supported Learning at teacher education. Previous course-evaluations have shown that students were not satisfied with the chosen technology (Fronter, a Learning Management System - LMS) and suggested using Facebook instead. In the first run, the lecturers did not respond to this challenge. Subsequently, a group of students rejected the use of Fronter, the current LMS for discussions, and used Facebook instead. We describe this action as student mutiny. In order to meet the students’ request for technologies other than Fronter, two courses were designed using Facebook (social media) and Canvas (LMS). In both these courses, academic discussions are crucial, and in online courses this has to be nurtured. Consequently, we raise the following question: How do different digital discussion fora engage students in academic discussions and support social presence?

Data were gathered from the two different courses with an almost identical student cohort. The data material constitutes of student evaluation reports and Facebook and Canvas dialogues.

In studying a situation where communication is mediated through digital devices, the relationship between technology, human actors and learning is essential. Therefore, this paper draws on a sociomaterial perspective on learning and social interaction (Fenwick et al, 2011; Sørensen, 2009), which means that phenomena are understood as entanglements of material and social entities, both situated and results of performative enactments and doings. Additionally, social presence in online communication is a well-known challenge. Tu and McIsaac (2002) suggest a conceptual framework that can be used to understand social presence in interaction, defining intimacy and immediacy as important for communication in online learning environments.

From the analysis of the interactions in the discussion fora we have identified several categories: social issues, academic discussions, practical issues relating to studies, information flow, teacher information and crossover discussions. In particular, this paper addresses the social and academic discussions emerging respectively in Facebook and Canvas and discusses the sociomaterial conditions for nurturing social presence in the two digital discussion fora.

Our conclusions indicate that the sociomaterial nature of the different discussion fora influences the social presence and awareness of the students, which consequently influences the academic discussions. While Facebook is a platform that invites the sharing of private information, Canvas, as an academic platform, appear to lack legitimacy for private talk. These findings are essential in online course design, and suggest that categories of digital discussion fora should be taken into consideration in future online-course design.
@InProceedings{JOHANNESEN2016FAC,
author = {Johannesen, M. and Mifsud, L. and {\O}grim, L.},
title = {FACEBOOK, CANVAS AND SOCIAL PRESENCE IN ONLINE DISCUSSIONS},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.0307},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.0307},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {5806-5813}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Johannesen AU - L. Mifsud AU - L. Øgrim
TI - FACEBOOK, CANVAS AND SOCIAL PRESENCE IN ONLINE DISCUSSIONS
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.0307
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 5806
EP - 5813
ER -
M. Johannesen, L. Mifsud, L. Øgrim (2016) FACEBOOK, CANVAS AND SOCIAL PRESENCE IN ONLINE DISCUSSIONS, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 5806-5813.
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