Here is my view on social presence.
In this paper on Examining social presence in online courses in relation to students’ perceived learning and satisfaction by JC Richardson, K Swan, I was struck by the following implications:
These results have several implications:
1. Students reporting higher perceived social presence scores also perceived they learned more from the course than students with low perceived social presence scores. This indicates a relationship between social presence and perceived learning.
2. Students who were most satisfied with their instructors also believed they learned more from their courses than students who were less satisfied with their instructors. This indicates a relationship between instructor satisfaction and perceived learning.
3. Students with high overall social presence scores also indicated they were highly satisfied with their instructor. This implies that students’ perceptions of social presence were related to the perceptions of their instructors as having a satisfactory online presence in terms of amount of interaction and/or quality of that interaction.
“interaction among participants is critical in learning and cognitive development [31, 32]. Sociocognitive theorists describe learning as an interactive group process in which learners actively construct knowledge and then build upon that knowledge through the exchange of ideas with others [11, 30]. These theories combined with the findings of this study indicate that there is a “better” model for online courses. The model should not only present the information and materials to students but also incorporate the social aspects of learning in both the design and instruction of online courses.The immediate implications of this research extend into the realms of both research and practice.”