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Title: The impact of the interface design on social interaction in online learning environments
Author: Fadel, Luciane Maria
ISNI:       0000 0001 3456 0899
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2007
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The research presented in this thesis concerns the contribution of the interface design to social interaction in online .learning environments. This thesis focuses on the design of social facilities in the interface that are intended to motivate and sustain the process of communication among students. Online learning environments present new possibilities for social interaction by promoting communication through computer networks. Although there are design constraints in creating an environment capable of supporting social interaction, previous research findings indicate that social presence is a key factor for social interaction. In this thesis, social presen~e is defined as the extent to which virtual entities that represent others are perceived as real. In addition, previous research has pointed out that social presence is affected by individual variables, social response variables and media variables, suggesting that an interface design might enhance social presence. The research in this thesis explores the interface design by investigating how placing an emphasis on interaction facilities and incorporating text, images and animation affect students' experiences 1interacting with each other. The research presented here comprises four online course experiments. The four experiments were conducted to investigate the relationship of social presence to the number of interactions, and to the three key aspects of social facility design that support social presence: 1. The visibility of interaction facilities; 2. The use of images, animation and text to present the presence of others and; 3. The use of a~ation to present system feedback. This research measured objective and subjective responses, combining student questionnaires with system logs and final grades. The research presented in this thesis identifies a range of responses that can be affected by the interface design. The overall conclusion is that the interface design can increase the number of interactions and enhance the perceived social presence in an online learning environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available