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Social Presence and Participation Patterns of EFL Teacher Trainees in a Blended-Learning Context

This study aims to explore online participation patterns and
establishment of social presence in online forum contributions. As
part of two teaching practice courses over the winter and spring
semesters, we offered EFL teacher trainees a blended-learning
environment in which face-to-face lessons were supported by an online
component. For the winter term, this online component was a Web 2.0
tools and social presence training designed by Hauck and Warnecke
(2012). During the spring semester, the online component served as a
platform for extended tutor and student initiated discussions as well
as creation of tasks and stories using Web 2.0 tools.

Within a case study approach, data collection involved a record of
learners' forum participations, tasks and stories created using Web
2.0 tools and reflective journal entries collected at various
intervals throughout the year. The theory of social presence (Rourke,
Anderson, Garrison & Archer, 1999; Kehrwald 2008, 2010) and patterns
of participation (Salmon, 2007) constituted the theoretical framework
for analysis. Using qualitative content analysis, we looked for
critical instances that demonstrate change throughout the course and
how learners were able to transfer the online skills they practised in
the winter term to their practices in the spring term. Data from
content analysis is supported by participant comments in journal
entries to enhance our interpretation of the data. The discussion
highlights the significance of task design, task requirements and
topic relevance on participation and how social presence is
constructed within the online community.


Hauck, M. and Warnecke, S. (2012). Materials design in CALL: social
presence in online environments. In: Thomas, Michael; Reinders, Hayo
and Warschauer, Mark eds. Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language
Learning. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 95-115.

Kehrwald, B. (2008). Understanding social presence in text-based
online learning environments. Distance Education, 29(1), 89.

Kehrwald, B. (2010). Being online: Social presence and subjectivity in
online learning. London Review of Education, 8(1), 39-50.

Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, R., & Archer, W. (1999). Assessing
social presence in asynchronous text-based computer conferencing.
Journal of Distance Education, 14(2), 50-71.

Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities: The key to active online learning.
Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.


H. Müge Satar    
School of Foreign Languages
Boğaziçi University

H. Müge Satar is a lecturer at the School of Foreign Languages at Boğaziçi University. She received her PhD from the Open University, UK. Her main research interests include social presence, multimodal analysis and task-based language teaching.

Sumru Akcan    
Foreign Language Education Department
Boğaziçi University

Sumru Akcan is an assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Language Education at Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in teacher education and foreign language teaching methodology. Her research focuses on teacher education, language teaching methodology and online learning environments for pre-service language teachers.


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