We will first discuss the concept of social presence and its relationship to modes of communication. Following we will discuss the literature examining the use of video feedback to establish instructor social presence.
Social Presence and Modes of Communication
Historically, social presence has been closely related to the mode of communication used. Short, Williams, and Christie (1976) originally defined social presence as “the degree of salience of the other person” in mediated communication (p. 65). They also emphasized that social presence was an attribute of the mode of communication—the more communication cues that the tool could transmit, the more social presence it contained. Short et al.’s original definition of social presence is similar to the concept of media richness (Draft & Lengel, 1986). Draft and Lengel (1986) defined media richness as a communication medium’s capacity to process rich information and explained that face-to-face communication had the highest richness; and “impersonal written documents” and “numeric documents” had the lowest (p. 560).
Short et al. (1976) also believed that social presence was closely related to the concept of immediacy. Wiener and Mehrabian (1968) defined immediacy as the level of psychological distance that exists within communication. The words that are used, as well as the visual and auditory cues, during communication can affect the level of immediacy. Short et al. (1976) reasoned that when using the same communication tool it was possible for immediacy (a product of behavior) to vary while social presence (an attribute of tool) stayed constant.
The distinction between immediacy and social presence has since become less clear. Unlike Short et al. (1976), Gunawardena (1995) contended that social presence was in part a product of behavior and thus could “be cultivated” by participants (p. 162). Later, Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) developed the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework to examine text-based learning interactions in an online learning environment. Within this framework, Garrison et al. (2000) defined social presence as the degree to which participants are able to project their full personality socially and emotionally. Garrison et al. (2000) added that communication behaviors—not media—are the most important factors when measuring social presence. For instance, Garrison and his colleagues (Rourke, Anderson, Garrison, & Archer, 2001) performed content analyses on online text discussion boards and identified three behavior categories that helped online participants establish their social presence: affective expression, open communication, and group cohesion. In doing so, they concluded that social presence could be established using only written communication. However, Garrison at al. (2000) acknowledged that “the lack of visual cues [in text] may present particular challenges to establishing social presence” (p. 95).
Within the CoI framework, social...