Assessing the Impact of Video-Based Assignments on Health Professions Students’ Social Presence on Web: Case Study (Preprint)

Journal Article


Web-based education is one of the leading learning pedagogies in health professions education. Students have access to a multitude of opinions, knowledge, and resources on Web, but communication among students in Web-based courses is complicated. Technology adds a filter that makes it difficult to decipher the emotions behind words or read nonverbal cues. This is a concern because students benefit more from Web-based classes when they have a high perception of social presence. To enhance social presence on Web, we planned to use video-based assignments (VBAs) that encourage students to interact with each other.


This case study examines the impact of VBAs on health professions students and their experiences with the technology. This study aims to provide information to the growing body of literature about strategies to develop social presence on Web.


A total of 88 students from various nursing programs participated in the study. While the control group comprised 36 students who submitted only written-based assignments (WBAs), the experimental group of 52 students submitted VBAs besides WBAs. No enrolled student had previously participated in the course, and there were no repeaters in either of the groups. Both groups participated in a weekly survey comprising 4 open-ended questions and 3 Likert items on a scale of 1-5 (1=strongly disagree and 5=strongly agree). The social presence questionnaire assessed by the experimental group comprised 16 items and a 5-point Likert scale in which higher scores represented higher levels of social presence. While quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, qualitative responses were analyzed using content analysis.


No significant differences were noted between the groups regarding the program (F1,87=0.36, P=.54). Regarding students’ engagement, no statistically significant difference was observed between the 2 groups (t14=0.96, P=.35). However, the experimental group’s average score for engagement was slightly higher (4.29 [SD 0.11]) than that of the control group (4.21 [SD 0.14]). Comparison of the total number of responses to the weekly engagement survey revealed 88.0% (287/326) as either strongly agree or agree in the control group, whereas 93.1% (525/564) in the experimental group. No statistically significant difference was observed between VBAs and WBAs weeks (t6=1.40, P=.21) in the experimental group. Most students reported a positive experience using VBAs, but technical issues were barriers to embracing this new approach to learning.


This study reveals that social presence and engagement are positively associated with student learning and satisfaction in Web-based courses. Suggestions are offered to enhance social presence on Web that could generate better learning outcomes and students’ experiences.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • De Gagne, JC; Kim, SS; Schoen, ER; Park, HK

Published By

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2196/preprints.11390