OTL201 – Post 2

Post 2 – Enhancing Social Presence

In my introductory post, I commented on the importance of collaboration and communication. Applying a social presence lens to student – instructor communication, I could have encouraged interpersonal communications, using techniques such as self-disclosure, affective expression or use of humour. Alternatively, by promoting open communications using such techniques as encouraging students to ask questions, continuing a student thread or expressing agreement in student’s messages. Further, by encouraging cohesive communications by using inclusive pronouns such as “us”, “we” and “group”.

Promoting social presence, at least initially, require conscious effort. The easiest category to incorporate into daily communications with students is open communications. Even with a rudimentary understanding of the indicators, with minimal effort, it becomes almost second nature to incorporate these indicators in everyday communications

Even with just a basic understanding of social presence, it is obvious that it represents an easy to use approach to improve instructor-student communication. Moreover, is powerful in terms of its simplicity. Thinking back to my own time as a student participating in online courses, I can see how social presence was used to enhance learning opportunities and to build cohesive classroom discussion.

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David Kumka

David Kumka is a former high school teacher and college instructor who left teaching some time ago. After spending the last 30 odd years as an IT consultant, and stopping along the way to pick up and M.Sc. in IT and a Ph.D. in Information Systems, David has returned to teaching as an OLFM. And is quite happy to be back!

One thought on “OTL201 – Post 2”

  1. I really agree with your statement about social presence requiring a conscious effort. It may be completely natural to us in a F2F teaching situation, but it’s easy to miss in an on-line setting.

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