Xie, K., Lu, L., Cheng. S.L., & Izmirli, S. (2017). The interactions between facilitator identity, conflictual presence, and social presence in peer-moderated online collaborative learning. Distance Education, 38(2), 230-244. doi:10.1080/01587919.2017.1322458
Research has focused on the significance of social presence in online learning. However, peer interaction does not always result in positive emotions and feelings; it can trigger tension, distress, and anger within a learning community. Therefore, conflictual presence, as a carrier of negative valence within presence, is also a critical element when it becomes inimical to online discussions. Drawing upon the socially situated identity theory and using discourse analysis, this study presents an authentic case where conflictual presence, social presence, and identity negotiation were intertwined throughout the entire life of an online learning community. Findings reveal that students craft their discourses to fashion themselves as a certain kind of facilitator and participant. Implicit and explicit identity negotiation is ubiquitous in discursive interactions and can lead to tension and conflictual socio-relations at times.