The development of social presence in online Arabic learning communities

Andrea Hall, Jan Herrington


An effective online learning community requires the development of social presence, as this helps learners to project themselves online and feel a sense of community. A literature review found that cultural preferences are important in developing relationships online, which may explain why some learners in international contexts may not participate in the learning community, with an unsuccessful online experience as a result. The effect of culture in the development of a learning community was investigated using a design-based research approach, in two fully online courses for faculty at a university in the Sultanate of Oman. It was found that the participants, all from an Arabic cultural background, preferred to develop responsible relationships before they went online, and preferred to use tools such as synchronous chat that gave increased immediacy to the learning context.

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