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:
- 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:
- Instructor presence: 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.
- Being There: Instructor Presence in Online Courses. (2015). Centre for Instructional Technology and Training, University of Florida.
- deNoyelles, A., Zydney, J.M., & Chen, B. (2014). Strategies for creating a community of inquiry through online asynchronous discussions. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 10(1), 153-165.
- How the Online Environment Impacts the Instructor Role. (2013). Kent State University.
- Kirkland, R.(nd). 7 Ways to Increase Instructor Presence in an Online Course: How to Show your Students There is a Real Person Behind the Screen. University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- Ladyshewsky, R.K. (2013). Instructor Presence in Online Courses and Student Satisfaction. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 7(1), Article 13.
- Online Instructor Roles. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved from:
- Paul, R.W. (2006). Questions for a Socratic Dialogue. Retrieved from: https://courses.cs.vt.edu/~cs2104/Spring14McQuain/Notes/SocraticQ.pdf 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.