Establish Teaching Presence

Teaching presence is a significant determinant of student satisfaction, perceived learning, and sense of community. Before your course begins, the design and organization of course materials, and your choices for content, activities, and assessments create your presence in your course.

Once the activity begins, your communication with your students is the most important part of the course. Facilitating discourse and sharing personal meaning creates presence. As you help your students stay on task, nudge those who are not as active as needed, answer questions so students don’t get stuck while attempting to do assignments, and ensure the comments in discussions are accurate and on the right track, you create presence. Sometimes direct instruction is necessary. Screencasts, summary comments about discussions, and personal feedback on assignments are good strategies that are supported with choices of digital tools. Your regularly heard voice lets your students be confident that if they need help it will be available.

In the online classroom, it is the relationships and interactions among people through which knowledge is primarily generated. You have to establish yourself as a “real” person. Interaction and collaboration are critical to community development. The keys to the creation of a learning community and successful facilitation online are simple: honesty, responsiveness relevance, respect openness and empowerment.. .Students must be able to speak and debate their ideas without fear of retribution from andy source … (Palloff and Pratt, chapter one)

Grading and feedback are not always the same thing. Your formative and summative assessments keep students aware of their own progress. They also help you know what next steps you must take to support your individual students’ learning. Including reflection activities create a habit for your students to ask themselves what they have learned and where they need to focus their own study.

What strategies will you use to diagnose and assess your students’ learning?

What types of strategies exemplify authentic assessment? [Real problems]

What is your policy on student collaboration, cheating, and plagiarism?

Do you have a timeline or structure for your assessments?

Are your expectations for student performance and submission requirements clearly defined in your instructions?

Did you describe what excellent work looks like for projects, assessments, and discussions? Did you provide examples?

Have you included a rubric for students to use for self-assessment of their work?

Have you included resources and examples for students who may not have a clear understanding of such assessments as essays, abstracts, summaries, literature reviews, self-reflections, critiques, peer reviews, substantive discussions, book reviews, and other specific types of writing? Do you have direct links to the campus writing center?

Establishing Communication

How will you provide feedback to students?
Have you clarified your expectations and indicated your preferred tools for communication between and among you and individuals, you and the entire class, and students to students?

How do you communicate personally with colleagues and friends? What are your most effective tools and apps? How might you integrate these workflows with the ways you communicate with students?

How will you blend open aggregated blogs and open course resources like Diigo libraries, password protected shared wiki spaces like Google docs, and management tools like Blackboard gradebook, group enrollments, private journals and course emails. What will you use for course conversations? discussion forums, comments on blogs, comments on wiki docs…?

  • Email: one-to-one personal interaction?
  • Phone: Do students provide contact information for collaboration? Text messages as announcements?
  • Introductions: Do the introductory activities help create student cohorts and a sense of shared purpose? Videos and selfies are fun. Blog profiles, Google profiles, and Blackboard profiles help students know who’s interacting.
  • Discussion Forums:  for assignment questions and help among students.  Some people use Facebook or Twitter.
  • Blogs. Helping students write for an audience is great practice. Have students set up blogs or sync from other blog sites thy’ve already created.
  • Journals. For some disciplines, private descriptions of student attitudes are needed but are only appropriate between individual students and faculty.
  • Group organization: Have you established groups for collaborative projects and student-to-student discussion? Have you helped groups decide how they will communicate?
  • Aggregated blogs, wiki, Facebook, chat, twitter, Google drive apps, Collaborate, Hangouts, Zoom: When and how are these tools used for communication? Are synchronous meetings necessary for the course goals? What tools do you want to learn to use? First think about how you want students to interact and produce content media [papers, presentations, video reflections, digital stories, diagrams, concept maps, …] Then determine what tool might be best to use. Specific software and hardware requirements should be part of your requirements list.
  • Grades: Are student grades and comments easily accessed? Is feedback from your and TA’s apparent?
  • Calendar: Are due dates obvious? Do you have an established policy about late work?
  • Tasks: You or your students can create task or “to do” lists for the course or for each topic.


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