Instructor Presence in Online Learning

In a face to face situation, instructor presence is easy …. you’re right there with your students, but when teaching online this can be tougher, unless you are thinking about it and making sure you are present to students.  One of the major reasons why students drop out of online courses is that they feel there is poor communication with the instructor.  Students need a sense of community.

The following video (7 min 39 sec), from The College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota, can help with ideas for online presence.

You need to remember that online learning can feel isolating to a student. You can make your student feel that their success is important just by giving frequent and direct communication. Help learners with any questions, and be proactive in contacting learners who appear to be falling behind. By showing personal interest you can help motivate your students to understand (and complete) course content.

Here is a link to a really good article from MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Research “Guidelines for Online Course Moderation and Community Building from a Student’s Perspective” (2014).

Some ways to be present are:

  • through Blackboard discussions, especially if you give students a video introduction,
  • by creating instructor presence through regular Blackboard announcements, perhaps even creating a webcam recording so students can see you and hear your voice,
  • by giving audio/video feedback to assignments, which allows you to give feedback in a conversational way,
  • Using technology, such as VoiceThread, to not only increase instructor presence, but also student-to-student presence.

These are just a few ideas. remember to contact CELT or your campus instructional designer if you need help or have questions. Thank you for reading, and subscribing, to the Faculty Learning Corner. I’ll see you next week.