You’ve been assigned your first online class to teach and you feel like you’re ready. You’ve done your homework and learned the ins and outs of the institution’s course management system. You’ve structured your content in purposeful ways and developed thoughtful guiding questions to situate student learning and motivate them. When the class starts, however, you realize that while everything is technically functioning correctly, many of the students are not engaged. While you were looking forward to teaching online and interacting with students, the students are approaching your course as if it’s an independent study. This wasn’t what you anticipated when you agreed to teach online!
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Once upon a time people told stories to share experiences and to teach. With the growing popularity of distance learning modalities educator have been searching for ways to enhance social presence and reflective thinking in the online learning experience. The use of digital storytelling might be a strategy to bring human thought and emotion into online education.
Social presence is an important concept in distance education. So, how can we increase social presence in online teaching? Here are some ideas for you to try.
In order to be part of an effective learning community, online learners need to feel the presence of the instructor and fellow learners. Jane Dwyer, a senior lecturer at Rivier College, uses the following techniques to create this sense of social presence in her online psychology courses:
Social presence, “the degree to which a medium is perceived as representing the presence of communication participants,” is an important factor in students’ learning and satisfaction. With online learning reaching across cultures, Judy Teng, educational technologist at the College of Saint Rose, studied how ethnicity affects student perceptions of social presence.