School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Rachel Hernandez


immediacy, social presence, learning perception, motivation, course satisfaction, academic success


Online and Distance Education


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of instructor social presence and immediacy on student success for asynchronous online students at universities that offer asynchronous learning in Southern California. The theory guiding this study was Short’s theory of social presence, as it explains the real and present interaction that affects the saliency and interpersonal relationships of the participants. The methodology for this qualitative study followed a hermeneutical phenomenological design of 10 asynchronous online students enrolled in universities in Southern California. Data were collected using individual interviews, letter writing, and a focus group. The data analysis included a phenomenological reduction of data coding to identify common themes and trends. These themes and trends were compared and contrasted against outlying experiences and synthesized to identify merging themes. Three themes and six sub-themes emerged from the study. The three themes included quality of instructor-student interaction, socialization and connectedness with instructors and peers, and effectiveness of online learning. Findings from this study will help current and future asynchronous online instructors use social presence and immediacy to improve students’ academic success.