CCE Theses and Dissertations

Comparison of Social Presence in Voice-based and Text-based Asynchronous computer Conferencing

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Timothy Ellis

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Ling Wang


The significance of social presence in asynchronous computer conferencing has become an increasingly important factor in establishing high-quality online learning environments. Levels of social presence exhibited in asynchronous computer conferences influence students' perceptions of learning and satisfaction levels in a Web based course. Evidence in the literature supports the use of text-based asynchronous computer conferences to enhance learning in online learning environments. Recently, faculty teaching online courses have begun to use voice-based asynchronous conferencing tools with little research to support the appropriateness of the media.

A quasi-experimental study design framed this examination of the levels of social presence as measured by interaction patterns in voice-based and text-based asynchronous computer conferences. Qualitative analysis of content transcripts representing voice based and text -based asynchronous computer conferences from one human physiology course at a state university located in the southeastern United States was examined in this study. The analysis was based on the affective, communicative reinforcement, and cohesive interactions as defined by Rourke, Anderson, Garrison, and Archer. A social density score was derived from transcripts. A multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to determine if there were significant differences in levels of social presence between voice-based and text-based asynchronous computer conferences.

Results reported higher levels of affective and communicative reinforcement interactions in the text-based asynchronous computer conferences at a statistically significant level. Voice-based asynchronous computer conferences contained higher levels of cohesive interaction patterns, although levels were not statistically significant. Deployment of voice-based technology as a pedagogical tool is delivered at a considerable cost to higher education institutions. These tools are often marketed based on the effectiveness of the technology in a learning environment. However, according to this study, there is no apparent benefit in using voice-based rather than text-based technology tools to facilitate asynchronous computer conferences in a Web-based learning environment.

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