The theme for this week is about design factors. I've selected three main themes for discussion-- and feel free to introduce others! Throughout the week, I will post some background information related to these themes as food for thought, and suggest some questions to get your thinking started...and generate discussion.
First, no matter how fun or cool it may be to communicate online, the method selected for data collection needs to align with the research purpose and methodology. Second, we need to make sure all ethical considerations have been met. Third, when we are thinking about using technology, we need to be sure we select an approach that is workable with the target sample population.
Let's with the basics and define our terms: what do I mean by online interviews in real time ? My definition is: "Scholarly interviews conducted via rich media synchronous Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)."
While Rich Media Theory (Daft & Lengel, 1986) taken as a whole has its flaws, the basic concept is useful here: rich media can be used to describe ICTs that allow us to use multiple channels for communication and immediate feedback to create sense of presence Shin (2002), drawing on work of Lombard and Ditton (1997), points out:
Presence, as social richness, involves the degree to which media are capable of making users perceive other users’ sociability, warmth, sensitivity, personality, or closeness in a mediated communication situation. (p. 124)
In Chapter 1, I observe that while face-to-face presence is an either-or proposition, you are there or you are not, when we are online we perceive presence in different ways, including the following:
- Environmental presence: the extent to which the environment itself recognizes and reacts to the person;
- Personal presence : the extent to which the person feels physically present in the environment;
- Social presence : the extent to which the person has the feeling of being together and communicating with others to achieve meaningful interactions, establish and maintain relations, and create productive social systems in online environments; and
- Cognitive presence: the extent to which the person feels the potential to participate in critical thinking and community of inquiry (Baños et al., 2008; Garrison, Anderson, 2004; Heeter, 2003; Kehrwald, 2008; Suler, 2003).
Speaking personally, I feel a sense of social and cognitive presence in an asyncrhonous environment such as the one we are in here. But for an interview, the immediate feedback possible with synchronous communications is in a word richer. I am a very visual person so feel more personal presence when it is possible to view the other person(s) and/or to view relevant visual materials.
What is your definition or how would you refine or add to mine? What other factors or features add to richness is online communication? What helps you feel a sense of presence online? What helps create a sense of presence that might be helpful when in an interviewee? Do you think the selection of technology makes a difference?
Anderson, T., & Elloumi, F. (2004). Theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca: Athabasca University.
Baños, R. M., Botella, C., Isabel Rubió, Quero, S., García-Palacios, A., & Alcañiz, M. (2008). Presence and emotions in virtual environments: The influence of stereoscopy. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(1), 1-8.
Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H. (1986). Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design. Management Science, 32(5), 554-571.
Heeter, C. (2003). Reflections on real presence by a virtual person. Presence: Teleoperators & virtual environments, 12(4), 335-345.
Kehrwald, B. (2008). Understanding social presence in text-based online learning environments. Distance Education, 29(1), 89-106.
Lombard, M., & Ditton, T. (1997). At the heart of it all: the concept of presence. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 3(2).
Shin, N. (2002). Beyond interaction: the relational construct of "Transactional Presence". Open Learning, 17(2).
Suler, J. (2003). Presence in cyberspace. Psychology of cyberspace. Retrieved from http://www-usr.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/psycyber.html