Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2012


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology (EdDIT)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Misook Heo

Committee Member

Joseph Kush

Committee Member

David Carbonara


Content management software, Online education, Online learning, Sense of community, Social awareness, Social interaction


Online social interactions differ from face to face interactions and lack the non-verbal cues leading a learner to procrastinate, decreased motivation, feelings of isolation and high drop out rates. Existing research illustrates a need for social awareness information in online education, and this research studied the impact of the visual presence of social information on a learner's sense of connectedness and learning using Rovai's (2002) classroom community scale (CCS). Specifically, the study examined if a learners' sense of connectedness is improved with the exposure to others' social awareness information; and if and to what degree learning advanced due to the improved sense of connectedness.

Two, 5 X 1 between-subjects one-way analyses of covariances compared connectedness and learning scores of five social awareness information disclosure groups (appearance, educational, contact and personal information disclosure groups and control group). Although the study did not find evidence of exposure to social awareness information having an impact on learning, the findings confirm the claim that social awareness provides a sense of connectedness. The type of social information presented in the educational category (last degree earned, major and educational year) provided a strong relationship compared to other categories studied.

Educators, course designers and content management companies will benefit in recognizing that social awareness information positively impacts online educational participants by providing a sense of connectedness when presented with educational related materials. The development of social awareness support within a learning management system can improve an online learner's experience and enhance the quality of online education. This social awareness support in a learning management systems infrastructure is thus recommended.