Examining Social Presence in Online Courses in Relation to Students’ Perceived Learning and Satisfaction

J. Richardson
K. Swan


Research has demonstrated that social presence not only affects outcomes but also student, and possibly instructor, satisfaction with a course [1]. Teacher immediacy behaviors and the presence of others are especially important issues for those involved in delivering online education. This study explored the role of social presence in online learning environments and its relationship to students’ perceptions of learning and satisfaction with the instructor. The participants for this study were students who completed Empire State College’s (ESC) online learning courses in the spring of 2000 and completed the end of semester course survey (n=97). A correlational design was utilized. This study found that students with high overall perceptions of social presence also scored high in terms of perceived learning and perceived satisfaction with the instructor. Students’ perceptions of social presence overall, moreover, contributed significantly to the predictor equation for students’ perceived learning overall. Gender accounted for some of the variability of students’ overall perception of social presence, while age and number of college credits earned did not account for any of the variability.


Distance learning, Interaction, Social presence, Learning effectiveness, Student satisfaction, Faculty satisfaction, Perceived learning, Asynchronous learning, Computer-mediated learning, Computer- mediated communications


Not Available

APA Citation

Richardson, J., & Swan, K. (2003). Examining social presence in online courses in relation to students’ perceived learning and satisfaction. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(1). Retrieved from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/jaln/v7n1/v7n1_richardson.asp

About the Study

Links to Article https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C50&q=Examining+social+presence+in+online+courses+in+relation+to+students%E2%80%99+perceived+learning+and+satisfaction&btnG=
Mode Technology-enhanced, Blended or Hybrid, Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks
Type of Research Quantitative
Research Design Action research, Text analysis
Intervention/Areas of Study Active learning, Course design, Engagement, Learning community, Social presence, Student-student interactions
Level of Analysis Student-level
Specific Populations Examined
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest
Specific Course or Program Characteristics
Outcome Variables of Interest Learning effectiveness
Student Sample Size 0-99
Citing Articles https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=10255136952457692926&as_sdt=5,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en