Distance education learning environments have changed significantly in the past few decades due to the inclusion of enhanced web-based technologies. The enhanced web-based technologies has created enormous possibilities in distance education. Turkish Higher Education has undergone massive changes quality management into institutions’ global management systems due to technological advancements and adjustments. One of the quality management practices in higher education requires flexible and inclusive training provision focused on the student.
The main purpose of this research was to compare social presence in blended synchronous learning environments between a public University and a private university in Turkey. The aim of this descriptive and comparative study was to identify students’ perception of the psycho-social properties of two different blended synchronous learning learning environments used by two universities in Turkey. One of the target institutions is public university the other is private university in the Turkey.
The full sample of respondents consisted of 276 graduate students during the spring semester in academic year 2015–2016. The sample of public university consisted of 137 graduate students. The sample of private university consisted of 139 graduate students.
In order to investigate psycho-social properties of blended synchronous learning environments, we conducted survey based on the work of Walker (2003). The questionnaire consisted of seven scale designed to students’ perceptions related to Instructional Support, Student Interaction and Collaboration, Personal Relevance, Authentic Learning, Active Learning, Student Authonomy and Satisfaction. Based on the result of analysis, general tendencies and distinct point of public and private university students’ responses to each scale were discussed.
In both universities, the blended synchronous learning environment was found to be effective, but student interaction and collaboration showed that public university is a significantly lower mean score than students enrolled in the course of private university. The research results have shown that blended synchronous learning environments is a suitable social presence for Turkish universities.