Instructor presence means showing your students that you are "right there with them" in the process of their learning -- that you are invested in their academic success, that you are an active and engaged facilitator of their learning. Instructor presence can be fostered by the following means:
- Respond to student queries promptly
- Within 24 hours, ideally; if not possible, clearly communicate expectations in syllabus.
- Post announcements in the LMS
- Remind students of upcoming deadlines.
- Connect course material to relevant news stories, research, etc.
- Summarize and offer reflections on online discussions; reference students by name.
- Reach out to “at risk” students
- Use the LMS’ intelligent agents to connect with students who haven’t logged into the course, or are struggling.
- Use video in targeted ways
- Introduce yourself, communicate who you are as a person, and what motivates you about your discipline.
- Worked examples: demonstrate how to work through difficult concepts/problems.
- Participate in online discussions
- Use Socratic questioning to challenge assumptions, have students support arguments, clarify thinking etc.
- Aim for “prompt but modest” feedback: too little feedback communicates a lack of instructor presence/interest; too much makes the discussion instructor focused and can decrease students’ sense of ownership (deNoyelles et al, 2014).
- Provide timely, formative feedback on activities and assignments
Complementing instructor presence is social presence.
- How the Online Environment Impacts the Instructor Role. (PDF)(2013). Kent State University.
- Online Instructor Roles. University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- Paul, R.W. (2006). Questions for a Socratic Dialogue. Sheridan, K. & Kelly, M.A. (2010). The Indicators of Instructor Presence that are Important to Students in Online Courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 6(4).
- Smith, S., & Xu, D. (2016). How do online course design features influence student performance? Computers & Education.