Sarah & Emma: Case Studies of Two Instructors and How They Use Social Presence in Second Life
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The focus of this qualitative multiple case study is on two higher-education instructors who teach online in virtual worlds, specifically in Second Life, and how they think about and implement social presence strategies in their courses. The study also offers a view into the student learning experience in the virtual world of Second Life. The results of the study are in agreement with previous research that shows that developing social presence is important in online teaching and learning. It provides evidence at least in the two cases under study that communication and interactivity, which are components of social presence, can be fostered in a virtual world. It also indicates that faculty development for instructors who teach online may need to consider instructor characteristics and that institutional support is essential for online courses in virtual worlds.