chapter  4
15 Pages

Social Presence

The early adopters of e-learning immediately recognized its potential to support a collaborative learning experience. The obvious and immediate challenge, however, was to create a welcoming learning environment that would serve educational needs. This precipitated considerable discussion with regard to the misplaced goal of replicating a classroom experience. What was not fully appreciated was that creating a community of learners through an asynchronous text-based means of communication represented a qualitative shift from that of a real-time, verbal, face-to-face mode of communication. As such, the challenge of creating a community of learners in a medium that provides no interpersonal visual cues and is limited to words or images on a screen presented a unique challenge for educators.