“Nice to get to know you”
Social presence in virtual exchange discourse
Virtual exchange comprises online collaborative activities in facilitated, educational contexts across borders. This paper offers a multimodal approach to the study of social presence in students’ asynchronous online discourse in the context of virtual exchange. It draws on the Community of Inquiry model of online learning (Garrison 2017) and interprets social presence as the dynamic discursive process of social interaction and self-presentation. The data consists of screenshots collected in a closed Facebook group during the first assignment of a Czech-Finnish virtual exchange project in 2017. The study aims to explore how the method of multimodal discourse analysis can be used to describe the three dimensions of social presence. The students’ self-introductory posts, reactions and comments were examined in three modes of meaning-making: the linguistic, the visual and the action mode. The study offers a model for the qualitative multimodal discourse analysis of social presence construction in asynchronous social media interaction.