Social presence for different tasks and perceived learning in online hospitality culture exchange
This study utilized online discussion and project construction tasks to determine the extent of social presence and collaborative learning for hospitality culture exchange. The online culture exchange lasted for 6 weeks from September to November 2011. Forty-four English majors from a hospitality college in Taiwan and an institute of education in Hong Kong were matched into 22 pairs to participate in this study. Four student helpers facilitated the project. This study analyses patterns of students' social presence for different tasks and students' perceived learning. The results show that participants were more enthusiastic about self-introduction and travel projects than about article reading and discussion. Moreover, patterns of social presence were significantly different for different tasks. Students' responses to language learning and cultural awareness were positive. Students regarded the project as helpful because it offered them a chance to learn language and culture and promote critical thinking and awareness of different perspectives. Students therefore had the opportunity to interact with others, to articulate their ideas, and to negotiate. In addition, the student helpers were able to train themselves to work under pressure, develop coordinating skills and leadership, and learn to make use of different methods of communication.
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