This research addresses the affordances of using Voki avatars to create a sense of social presence in an asynchronous online writing classroom setting. Digital media afford online educators the opportunity to harness different technologies and new ways of being in a digital classroom that can enhance student engagement in ways similar to yet unlike face-to-face instruction, but this current research questions the effectiveness of these technologies. Original data was obtained from forty students in an online writing course who responded to open-ended questions about their perception of social presence. This study reiterates the importance of establishing social presence in an online course, but suggests students may find specific Web 2.0 technology less effective than other pedagogical methods.
This study explores Web 2.0 technologies in an academic library through focus groups with undergraduates at Kent State University. Results reveal that students, despite being heavy users, are less sophisticated and expressive in their use of Web 2.0 than presumed. Students set clear boundaries between educational and social spaces on the Web, and the library may be best served by building Web 2.0 into its site and extending its services into course management systems.