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Increasing Teacher, Social and Cognitive Presence in an Online Environment

Online Presence Defining Features Recommendations
Teaching Presence
  • Plan & prepare to maximize your impact on the student learning experience
  • Facilitate online discussion
  • Provide direct instruction (academic and pedagogic leadership)
  • Record a personal video introduction
  • Send a welcome email
  • Conduct routine 5-10 minute synchronous meetings with each student
  • Record an intro video and tour of your Moodle Course
  • Model what presence is in an online course
  • Send regular email updates to remind students of upcoming due dates and provide feedback on weekly learning activities
Social Presence
  • Establish a supportive classroom community
  • Create opportunities for students to interact with each other
  • Encourage students to post pictures and profiles on Moodle
  • Create an introductory discussion forum to cultivate student-student interaction
  • Create an online class lounge or a virtual café
  • Create study group forums
  • Design weekly activities that require students to interact with each other (i.e. discussion forums, peer editing, group projects, Zoom breakout rooms, etc.)
  • Do warm-up/ ice-breaker activities the beginning of Zoom sessions
Cognitive Presence
  • Create intentional opportunities for students to complete learning tasks and activities
  • Design activities that require higher-order thinking and are sufficiently challening
  • Devise communication/exchange structure that has students build understanding between themselves
  • Build opportunities for students to think and apply the course content together
  • Start and finish your class in Zoom (e.g. provide a hook, intro, and closure activities)
  • Design discussion forums around meaningful and thought-provoking questions
  • Provide guidelines for online participation and share descriptive rubrics
  • Provide frameworks or guiding questions to help students unpack discussion questions and build analytical skills
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