Instructor Presence

Instructor presence means showing your students feel 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: 

  1. Respond to student queries promptly:
    1. Within 24 hours, ideally; if not possible, clearly communicate expectations in syllabus.
  2. Post announcements in the LMS:
    1. Remind students of upcoming deadlines;
    2. Connect course material to relevant news stories, research, etc.;
    3. Summarize and offer reflections on online discussions; reference students by name.
  3. Reach out to “at risk” students:
    1. Use the LMS’ intelligent agents to connect with students who haven’t logged into the course, or are struggling.
  4. Use video in targeted ways:
    1. Instructor presence: introduce yourself, communicate who you are as a person, and what motivates you about your discipline;
    2. Worked examples: demonstrate how to work through difficult concepts/problems.
  5. Participate in online discussions:
    1. Use Socratic questioning to challenge assumptions, have students support arguments, clarify thinking etc.
    2. 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).
  6. Provide timely, formative feedback on activities and assignments

Complementing instructor presence is social presence

Resources