Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Terence C. Ahern

Committee Co-Chair

Melissa D. Hartley

Committee Member

Daniel Hursh

Committee Member

John M. Oughton

Committee Member

Neal Shambaugh


The purpose of this study is to examine participant's perception of the usefulness of the visual elements in 3D Virtual Learning Environments, which represent co-presence, in developing interpersonal emotional connections with their partners in the initial stage of telecollaboration. To fulfill the purpose, two Japanese students and two American students were paired and participated in conversational sessions in two different virtual environments: one where they shared the environments with their partners and the other where they did not.;The participants had five twenty-minute conversational sessions in Japanese in Second Life. By following single subject research designs, the quantitative data were obtained from the results of a Likert scale, which was adapted from the measurement of social presence while the qualitative data were obtained from narrative reflections from participants and conversation analysis.;Both kinds of data were analyzed together and the following conclusions were reached: (1) learners may find avatars useful as a cue to remember the contents of the conversation, (2) 3-D VLEs may help native speakers or non-native speakers with higher proficiency to enforce emotional connections, (3) for non-native speakers, 3-D VLEs may bring positive effects, a sense of connection with their partners, and a negative effect, uncomfortableness, (4) other factors, such as topic of the conversation, gain impacts on emotional connections as the collaboration goes on.