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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The impact of user-controlled avatar attributes on social presence within select higher education courses
by Kline, Joel, Ed.D., University of South Dakota, 2012, 225; 3589843
Abstract (Summary)

An understanding of the impact of user avatar alteration in relation to social presence is needed to fully realize the potential of Second Life for higher education usages, which the research literature reveals as an environment that provides increased social presence. Prior studies focused primarily on the impact of system design attributes on social presence.

A social presence measurement instrument was developed that includes the ITC-SOPI Social Presence Inventory by Lessiter, Freeman, Keogh, & Davidoff, J.D. (2001), the Witmer/Singer Social Presence Inventory (2005), and a portion of the Slater (1994) Social Presence Inventory accompanied by researcher developed study specific queries. The comprehensive instrument was used to collect data from a volunteer sample of 65 Dakota State University students from Summer/Fall 2012, 100, 200, and 300 level Sioux Falls, South Dakota University Center computer classes. The quantitative measures were supported by qualitative statements from a fully immersive Second Life class conducted by Glendale Community College, AZ. Computed means and standard deviations from the pre avatar change survey revealed that the respondents did not articulate perceptions of social presence at a significant level.

Computed means and standard deviations of the pre/post avatar surveys change scores documented that none of the avatar change criteria resulted in significant changes in terms of perceived social presence. A subsequent one way analysis of variance was conducted and avatar attire, construction (body structure), gender or type, and physical appearance (facial structure) did not result in a statistically significant difference in terms of predicting social presence at the .05 level on the comprehensive social presence instrument.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Avoseh, Mejai
Commitee: Baron, Mark, Freeburg, Elizabeth, Santo, Susan
School: University of South Dakota
Department: Educational Administration
School Location: United States -- South Dakota
Source: DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Web Studies, Educational technology, Higher education
Keywords: Avatar, Presence, Social presence, User-controlled attributes
Publication Number: 3589843
ISBN: 978-1-303-28934-7
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