Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing



First Advisor

Mitchell, Maureen M.

Subject Headings



With continued surges in enrollment in the various online health science programs, especially nursing programs, there is a great need for additional research to be conducted regarding how students perceive their professors social presence in an online learning environment through the use of Computer-Mediated Communications - CMCs. The objectives of this descriptive phenomenological qualitative study were to: 1) illustrate how students perceive their professors’ social presence as used in various types of CMCs; 2) identify emotions which the students have experienced in response to their professor’s CMCs; 3) unveil common themes regarding student perception of their professors’ social presence; and 4) identify ways for professors to increase their social presence in the online learning environment per the recommendations of the students. Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2000) definition of social presence was provided to participants so they would understand the context of this term throughout the interview process. Colaizzi’s (1978) method for phenomenological analysis was used to extract and analyze data. This study yielded four main themes, which include: responsiveness and interactions; caring and supportiveness; emotions and feelings; and connectedness and cohesiveness. Each of these four themes is interrelated and would allow for professors to increase their social presence when utilizing one or more of those modalities. Although this study’s findings were consistent with previous studies on social presence in the online learning environment, more research is needed to determine which CMCs are most meaningful to students in promoting professor social presence.

Included in

Nursing Commons