online social presence, motivation, social presence, online class, verbal immediacy, instructional technology, educational technology


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the level of student motivation and perceived online social presence in an online course. Better understanding of the relationship between online social presence and motivation would assist researchers to identify and develop effective instructional strategies for the success of students' online learning experience. This study was conducted during the Fall 2007 semester at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Florida. Data for this study were collected from participating students enrolled in three online sections of EME 2040, Introduction of Educational Technology. In this course, pre-service teachers learn how to use technology and, more importantly, how to integrate it into their courses and their future classrooms. Three instruments were used in this study to obtain students' demographic information and to measure students' online social presence feeling, students' motivation levels, and instructors' verbal immediacy behaviors. Data were analyzed using repeated measure and multiple linear regression analysis. Seventy-four students from three online sections of EME 2040 responded to the study. Results suggested that students' level of online social presence increased significantly from the beginning of the semester to midterm and then dropped back to the original level from midterm to the end of the semester. However, the level of student motivation significantly increased only from the beginning of the semester to midterm and remained at same level for the rest of the semester. There were significant correlations between online social presence and student motivation across the semester. The regression analysis indicated that verbal immediacy affected online social presence significantly. Further research should be conducted with a larger sample and with different types of online courses in different academic settings and course management systems. Causal relationship between online social presence and student motivation should be explored. Instructional strategies should be established to enhance students' online social presence.


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Graduation Date



Gunter, Glenda


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology and Leadership

Degree Program









Release Date

May 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Education Commons