Session Five: Teaching Presence

  1. In your own words, define Instructional Presence.

While Instructional presence in a face to face environment suggest a physical presence in the classroom/office, in an online class, instructional presence has more to do with how a class has been instructionally designed in a way that the instructor is present to students. Instructional presence = Overall sense that a teacher is “present” in an online learning environment by providing information, assistance, feedback, and evaluation in a timely manner.

  1. Name three things that your instructor identifies as contributing to Instructional Presence. Explain why these are, or are not consistent with your definition of Instructional Presence.
    1. Starts with the initial contact teachers make with students via announcements and emails
    2. The weekly contact of teacher “lecture/content” and directions
    3. Teacher interaction on Discussion Boards and Blogs
    4. Timely evaluation
    5. Timely responses to Emails
    6. Office hour contact either f2f or via Skype
    7. Regular contact with students using varied media (email, Discussion Board, Blog, video, etc.)
    8. Quality of Exchanges outweighs quantity.
    9. Instructor presence keeps students motivated.

I think the key to instructional presence comes down to regular timely exchanges. If students only see random irregular contact from teachers, they will likely model the same approach to their own online effort.

  1. Who are the researchers most often identified with the construct of “Teaching Presence”?
  • Researchers Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. proposed that successful learning communities are a partnership of joint work of instructor and student presence. They are best known for their COI Model that suggest Teaching Presence  I”s the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes” (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001). “Teaching Presence includes three components, Instructional Design and Organization, Facilitating Discourse, and Direct Instruction” (Garrison, Anderson and Archer, 2000; Arbaugh and Hwang, A., 2006).
  • Raider-Roth, Professor of Education and Professor Carol Rodgers authors of Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice are two researchers best known for their theories on teaching presence. Rodgers and Raider-Roth (2006) discuss presence in teaching as “…an authentic relationship with students…”  that is a “…state of alert awareness, receptivity and connectedness to the mental, emotional and physical workings of both the individual and the group in the context of their learning environments and the ability to respond with a considered and compassionate best next step” (p. 265-266).
  1. What are the three types of presence that Teaching Presence requires? Name and describe each.
    1. Instructional Design and Organization- refers to the curriculum materials, evaluation methods, and timeline of activities/assignments.
    2. Facilitating Discourse- refers to the way in which instructors guide instructor/student and student/student interaction so as to keep students motivated.
    3. Direct Instruction-refers to the instructor as the content expert responsible for choosing the content of the lessons and overseeing the discussions in relation to content accuracy.

AND Unofficial Answer-

According to Larry Ragan, Director of Instructional Design and Development for Penn State, instructor presence consists of three dimensions:

  • Persona—This consists of the instructor’s personality, teaching style, and interests—all the characteristics that go into the students’ impression of the instructor.
  • Social—This refers to the connections instructors make with the students and those that students make with each other to build a learning community.
  • Instructional—This is the role the instructor plays in guiding students through the learning process.

  1. Choose one of the three types of presence named in item #4 and identify ways and instructor can create or improve this type of presence in an online class.

Techniques to establish instructional design and organization:

  1. Sending a preliminary email with information about the course before it begins.
  2. Create meet the instructor file or video on BB.
  3. Establish clear expectations of weekly participation and submissions for both instructor and students.
  4. Share professional links to interests, meetings, conferences, etc.
  5. Use the announcement forum to communicate and have students download BB app so that announcements come directly to cells.
  6. Provide timely weekly feedback to students, using a variety of formats.
  7. Monitoring student progress and utilize Grade book of BB.
  8. Actively problem solving with students in BB Discussion or Blog

  • I would ague that the medium of video curriculum content could fall under a combination of Instructional Design and Direct Instruction. In the four online classes I have so far taken, the commonality seems to be that all of the content comes from articles or text. I find that surprising and rather disappointing. I had anticipated that video would be better utilized. Granted certain disciplines lend themselves better to this modality, but surely attempting to reach varied learning styles through varied content modes is a good attempt at improving instructor presence.

Given that Instructor presence is related with Social presence, and that Social presence involves the ability of an individual to project themselves as a “real person” in the online learning environment (Garrison et al., 2000), it seems reasonable to think that even creating short video lectures would help teachers connect with students.

6.Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.

I think the point of this week’s lesson is to highlight that instructors need to be more creative in how they establish instructor presence and more vigilant in how regularly they maintain teaching presence to make sure they are connecting with students.

I understood going into this course how important it was for students to model good online behavior by “showing up” regularly, but I really had never considered how the planning for this begins with the design and organization of the course. It’s reassuring to know that your teacher will send out the next week’s work and previous week’s feedback at the same time each week. I have one class that the teacher might post on Monday and work is due Friday and then the next week she post on Wednesday and it’s due the following week; I have no clue when to go online because there is no pattern in that class. Even though content wise it is my easiest class, I find myself doing the work at the last minute or even late because her lack of teacher presence has made it impossible to plan or stay motivated. If as a grad student I am so impacted by this lack of presence, I can only imagine how this must affect my community college students (especially the basic skills students).

Tips and Resources

Improving your teaching presence in distance learning courses (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Jones, P., Naugle, K., & Kolloff, M. (2008). Teacher Presence: Using introductory videos in online and hybrid courses. Learning Solutions Magazine.

  1. Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.

I think this response goes to the core of my understanding the link between instructional design and teaching presence:

Teaching presence begins before the course commences as the teacher, acting as instructional designer, plans and prepares the course of studies, and it continues during the course, as the instructor facilitates the discourse and provides direct instruction when required (Anderson, et al, 2001).

If an online course is well thought out, students will know when the instructor posts, checks, and evaluates throughout the week, and students will know what format to expect to see teacher presence.  I think from a student perspective, we get frustrated with unpredictable teachers (be that f2f or online) who don’t “show-up” on time and regularly or don’t give feedback in a timely way.  Even a simple message from a teacher saying they won’t be available shows that they are still checking in and haven’t taken a break.  The bottom line is that we as teachers set the tone, so if we want our students to show a strong online presence, we need to do the same.

  1. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.

I really appreciate what Carole added to this week’s discussion.  I find it very useful when classmates she apps with their own critiques.

I found this topic interesting and went further to read about tools that can support video feedback. I have to create time and try using some of them. Here are some which I found out:

Comment Bubble.
Google drive apps like, WeVideo, & Kaizena.
Web based screencasting tools like screencastify.
Explain Everything, Evernote & The Live Scribe Pen.
Another alternative to provide response and still make it interactive is by use of screencasts and audio.

Feedback via screencast: Jing is a free screen capture software which can be used to record anything you can see on your computer screen and record corresponding audio. The advantage of using this tool is that the student can see his/her Word document and listen to the explanations as the tutor highlights and corrects a sentence or a paragraph. It also allows the instructor to give more explanations without writing a long paragraph.

Some advantages of using Jing:

Very little initial training needed. It is easy to use and the recording does not add to the file size as the link can be copied and pasted in the student’s script.
It allows the instructor to provide more in-depth explanations while correcting on the student’s Word document.
Students can easily follow the explanations provided on screen.
This type of feedback could help with pronunciation and might be useful for students with dyslexia.
Students like listening to the tutor’s voice hence its more personal and memorable.
It is free.

Are there any disadvantages? What do you think?

Audio feedback:

Bejerano, A. (2008). Face-to-face or online instruction? Face-to-face is better. National Communication Association. 3(3).

  1. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.
  • I’ve realized this week that student success begins with the thought put into instructional design. In week one or two of ETEC 500, I was irritated with hearing online teachers called instructional designers. To me that didn’t sound like the job of teaching and what I perceived to be the bulk of our instruction (which I thought took place during the quarter as opposed to before the start of the class). I was attempting to apply by f2f knowledge to online, but I realize that this doesn’t equate. So much of being a successful teacher is based on the effort put into planning and designing and organizing the online class. Most of successful tips for teacher presence fall under designing and organizing the course. I can see why teachers who are new to online teaching are so unsuccessful- they simply don’t understand what it takes to be present online.

8 thoughts on “Session Five: Teaching Presence

  1. Wanted to comment on your question 5 response regarding “Choose one of the three types of presence named in item #4 and identify ways and instructor can create or improve this type of presence in an online class.”

    I definitely would chose to preload as much of the cognitive load as possible as you state sharing the instructor resource file as well as other pertinent links to additional information. I also found it informative regarding the BB app download, as i was not aware that there was even a way to get real-time response and feedback without having to go through the portal to see the comments. I feel that having taken numerous BB courses that the being tethered to BB and having to log onto the secure site and go through several hoops just top communicate a quick idea or respond to a thought makes CMC and eLearning VERY clunky and not at all what it has the potential to be if there were a way to almost, dare I say, ‘tweet’ your thoughts and responses.

    Although much of what we have read regarding the cognitive presence theory within CoI that has mentioned and supports the rigor that is inherent within reading and having to communicate via writing, I would have to say that like many other things that we did not know about and have since allowed them to blossom into standard practices this might serve to capture a segment of learner that is easily bored and has been brought up and immersed in a life of texting, tweeting and instantaneous social connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately I have now discovered that CSUSB either-
      a) doesn’t have a new enough version of BB to be compatible with the BB App for cells
      b) hasn’t enabled the capability.

      I have the BB App because of my college but when I went to add CSUSB, it didn’t show up on the list.

      I’ll ask Dr. Newberry about it and see if by chance it’s issue b which can be resolved.


      • Margarita

        You have search for the school again. I think it’s under “CSU-San Bernardino” and then log in. The difference this quarter compared to past quarters with the BB app is that you will have to log in each time you open the app. It’s a bit of a pain.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Margarita!!!!

        I can’t believe that it didn’t show up typing CSUSB or writing out the whole name, but your suggestion did the trick.
        Kind of defeats the whole goal of synchronous announcements if we have to login each time, but at least I know I have some access if needed.


  2. Brian

    This was an interesting read. I especially liked your reflection on how much of the success, or failure, in online teaching is in the design work. This is very true!


  3. Thank you for sharing your idea Christen! Your post is well written and I always learn a lot from your blog because your information and ideas are sometimes supported by your professional background. It is really helpful for me who have never taught students before. And I like your definition of instructional presence! Thank you.


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