Conceptualizing social presence awareness in e‐collaboration of postgraduate students

Tshinakaho Relebogile Seaba (Informatics Department, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa)
Raymond Mompoloki Kekwaletswe (Faculty of ICT, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 14 September 2012



The purpose of this paper is to argue that an e‐collaboration environment, driven by awareness of social presence, may provide the just‐in‐time learning support needed by postgraduate students. The academic challenges faced by students may be alleviated if a correct electronic platform is provided for them to be able to consult with each other or their instructors, regardless of time or their locations. Thus, the paper conceptualises how awareness of social presence may help address the challenges by facilitating e‐collaboration of postgraduate students.


The interpretive paradigm was followed in the study, where a university of technology, located in the city of Pretoria, South Africa, was used as a case study. Selective sampling, specifically purposive sampling was then used to select participants. This kind of sampling is suitable for qualitative case studies and focuses on sample selection based on relevance to the context and problem.


The limited and inconsistent learning support hinders a smooth learning experience, often leading to delayed or incomplete learning tasks, including research works. The alternative for students is then to seek support from knowledgeable peers, who are often dispersed in varied geographical locations. Thus, it is important that the framework for e‐collaboration amongst postgraduate students be developed cognizant of the social presence awareness indicators that would help students to establish sense of togetherness during e‐collaboration.


Social presence and e‐collaboration literature inadequately addresses both, with respect to graduate candidates. This paper looks at how awareness of social presence and context effects e‐collaboration.



Relebogile Seaba, T. and Mompoloki Kekwaletswe, R. (2012), "Conceptualizing social presence awareness in e‐collaboration of postgraduate students", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 124-135.

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