Affect as a Presence in the Community of Inquiry Model
Campbell, Prisca M.
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This interpretive approach to a mixed-method study examines the likelihood that an awareness of the role of emotion as presented by Damasio and LeDoux enhances individual student participation in computer-mediated conferencing. Consideration is given to emotion as an element of social presence as defined in the community of inquiry conceptual model, proposed by Garrison, Anderson and Archer. Respondents participated in an online workshop, during which they were asked how the role of emotion in cognition might be applicable to distance education. Surveys and interviews were conducted to determine the level of their knowledge of emotion and cognition at the outset. Transcripts of conference postings were examined for evidence that learning had or had not transferred. Exit interviews and surveys determined if the workshops had enhanced or not enhanced the experience of the participants in the computer-mediated conference. Three of twelve participants acknowledged that participation in the workshop did engender a positive change in their normal conference participation behaviour. Three of the remaining nine stated unequivocally that the workshop had no influence. The others were unable to contribute useful data due to technical difficulties or limited participation. Although data were insufficient to support the research question there was evidence that emotion should be a fourth presence – called emotional presence - defined as the extent to which participants in a community of inquiry are aware of and attend to overt feelings and covert emotions with the intention of facilitating learning. The community of inquiry model and the distinction between emotion and feeling need further study. The latter concepts require study in an online context.