The role of feedback and social presence in an online peer coaching program for student teachers

Marieke Thurlings, Marjan Vermeulen, Theo Bastiaens, Sjef Stijnen


Feedback is essential in any kind of learning. This study focused on feedback in online learning and conceptualized feedback as a social interaction process. Online learning rests on social interaction, which is affected by feelings of social presence. Therefore, we investigated received and perceived online feedback, and the coherence between them. In addition, we studied the influence of social presence on feedback processes. Sixteen Dutch student teachers, who followed a 1 year customized postgraduate teacher education course, engaged in an online peer coaching program using Skype. Data could be collected from 8 different participants and 966 feedback utterances were analysed. In order to determine the quality of this received feedback, an observational instrument was used. In addition, questionnaires were filled in that addressed student teachers’ feedback perceptions and feelings of social presence. Findings showed that participants with higher feedback perceptions received more effective observed feedback than participants with lower perceptions. Feelings of social presence affected perceived and observed feedback, however the social presence items need further validation. This study has practical implications for providing effective online feedback as well as providing a more holistic view on the processes of feedback among teachers.


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