《中国应用语言学（英文）》2020.2︱Investigating Social Presence in Audio and Text Online Interaction for Language Learning
Ligao WU（Beijing Foreign Studies University）
Abstract：This study aimed at comparing the level of social presence generated in a voice-based chat room and a text-based forum when learners tried to build personal relationships and form an online community for learning on an online language course in China. A mixed-method approach was taken for the study, drawing on data from questionnaires to find out about student perception of social presence, and postings of text messages and audio messages in the communication of the student learning process to search for students’ projected social presence in terms of affective, interactive and cohesive features. Interviews were also conducted to supplement additional information with the hope of forming a complete picture of social presence in the reality of an online learning environment. The text-based forum and the voice-based chat room were found to have a different impact on student social presence. In terms of student perception, most of them were more likely to get to know peers in the text-based forum and thus developed a sense of community in their learning process of the online course. Yet they believed that the voice-based chat room had the advantage of helping them with course learning. In the actual interaction, the voice-based chat room was more interactive although the text-based forum was more affective and cohesive. But in terms of the affective category, the problem with the existing framework in literature was that there were no prosodic features included. Therefore, in future more research is needed to probe for the relationship between prosodic sound features and social presence, and the present theoretic framework must be extended. In interviews, students explained that in the voice-based chat room prosodic features led to higher peer awareness, which further reinforced this need.
Keywords: social presence, learning communities, text-based forum, voice-based chat room