The essence of this MIDT programme was the research that I conducted on a topic that was not only close to my heart but also which, I believe, has helped me gain insight into the perceptions and viewpoints of students and academic staff about the phenomenon of social presence at the university where I work. The results of this study have demonstrated that social presence in online learning classes is assumed to contribute towards the overall quality of online learning as well as the online learning experience.
I had the similar topic in the course HMPD 6204 Research Project Design. In this course, I developed the research project proposal and worked on the first three chapters of my project namely, Introduction, Literature Review and Methods. These chapters have been compiled here as one document. I decided to carry forward the same project in the capstone course HMCD 6304: Conducting Research in Instructional Design and Technology; nevertheless, I refined my focus and carried out research on the need for social presence in online learning. The research findings are significant for the university where I work as I primarily conducted this study on the same university. I intend to sensitize online tutors about the need, role and importance of social presence and arrange training for them so they get well versed in facilitating social presence to the online students of the university. My thesis report can be found here.