Teaching online guidebook

Be socially present

"Social Red" by Daniel Tenerife - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Social_Red.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Social_Red.jpgA key purpose in teaching online is to create a teaching presence, and encourage students to create a student presence. Teaching presence + student presence = social presence, which:

  • keeps students on track/task (high attrition in online topics/courses is common)
  • helps students learn – through interacting with the teacher and other students
  • fosters a sense of community. 

Social presence is closely aligned with active teaching and supports social learning.


What social presence looks like to a student
  • A photo of the teacher (and other students)
  • Information about teacher – background, teaching interests etc (and other students) 
  • Welcome, teacher/student expectations
  • Accessible (teacher contact details)
  • Friendly, personable, interested
  • Visibly online (frequently, at key times) – announcements, forums, video
  • Responsive ('just in time')
  • Stimulating – through challenging questions, inquiry
  • Constructive feedback and feed forward (for assignments)
  • Supportive – guiding, encouraging, asking how they are going