*On Creating an Online Presence*

Do you remember sitting in a first-year class on the first day of college? Did you listen to the instructor and did you understand what she or he said? What kind of an impression did the instructor make? Were you intimidated, encouraged, amused? What did your senses register: Do you remember what the instructor looked like? Do you remember his or her facial expressions? Do you remember his or her voice, the size of the room, the number of students in the room, the body language of the person sitting next to you? Did any of the above factors contribute to your readiness for learning?

Do you know how you appear to your students? Have you knowingly or unkowingly constructed an instructor presence that will contribute to an optimum learning environment. Do you ever reshape your presence? How often and why?

This presentation argues that in order to be effective teachers, online instructors need more than words, they also need a presence. When designing an online course, they must not only create standards, indicators, activities, and processes for feedback and evaluation, but they must provide visual clues and technical connections that support rather than detract from the learning experience. They must make sure that the course material is coherent, that concepts are presented in an attractive manner, and that appropriate interactive activities reinforce the concepts at regular intervals. In addition, they must make sure that the course will unfold with a limited amount of technical difficulty. In short, an instructor's online presence is not only determined by e-mail responses, comments on papers, and syllabi, but also by the ways in which cognitive, visual, and technical design contribute to the learning environment. With the help of examples from my online course, I will discuss some of elements that provide a context for my online instructor presence.

Presenter: Emily Golson


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