Facebook, Canvas and Social Presence in Online Discussions
This paper focuses on student discussion fora in a Masters’ programme in ICT-Supported Learning. Previous course evaluations have shown that students were not satisfied with the chosen technology (Fronter VLE) and suggested using Facebook instead. In this paper, we raise the following question: How do various digital discussion fora engage students in academic discussions? Data were gathered from two courses with almost identical student cohorts. The data material consists of student evaluation reports and Facebook and Canvas dialogues. In analysing these interactions, we have identified several categories: social issues, academic discussions, practical issues and information flow, teacher information and crossover discussions. Findings addressing the interplay between the social and material in academic discussions are addressed from a sociomaterial perspective. Our conclusions indicate that the sociomaterial nature of the various discussion fora influences the social presence and awareness of the students, which consequently influences the academic discussions.