Effect of Social Presence in Virtual High School

Funding Source of Project:

Duration of the Project:
January 2012 - present

Description of Project:
Online learning is increasing in K-12 area, especially as the Virtual High School has been established since the early 2000s, and enrollment is dramatically increasing every year. Existing studies focused nearly exclusively on comparing effectiveness of online learning to traditional school learning or examining the characteristics of virtual school. There is a lack of research that focuses on the pedagogy and instructional design side to enhance the students’ satisfaction and retention.
For a successful online learning experience, social presence has been reported as an important factor to engage students in an online learning environment. However, most of the studies were done in a higher education setting. Therefore, a rigorous study - which means research with theoretical framework, proper methodology and literature review - assessing the social presence and enhancing student’s engagement in Virtual High Schools are needed. The overall purpose of the dissertation is to see how the social presence relates to Virtual high school students’ satisfaction and to suggest several activities that are effective on increasing students’ social presence, satisfaction and retention rate.

Dr. Johannes Strobel

Graduate Students:
Jea. H. Choi