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Creating Social Presence in Your Online Course Fran McDonald, Mary Kot-Jansen, Bob Loser April 7, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Creating Social Presence in Your Online Course Fran McDonald, Mary Kot-Jansen, Bob Loser April 7, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Creating Social Presence in Your Online Course Fran McDonald, Mary Kot-Jansen, Bob Loser April 7, 2009

2 Why is social presence important? Imagine being the only student at your college.

3 Why is social presence important? You hear only your own footsteps in the halls.

4 Why is social presence important? The lecture hall is empty.

5 Why is social presence important? You sit by yourself in the classroom. Copyright © 2009 by Cedar Valley College, 3030 North Dallas Avenue, Lancaster, Texas 75134, USA, Phone:

6 Why is social presence important? You view an automated presentation by yourself.

7 Why is social presence important? You sit alone in the lunch room.

8 Why is social presence important? The library is empty. Copyright © 1999 by Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, Mackall Road, St. Leonard, MD 20685

9 Why is social presence important? The campus paths are deserted.

10 Why is social presence important? There is nobody to talk to about things you don’t understand.

11 Why is social presence important? There is nobody to help you celebrate your success.

12 Why is social presence important? We are social beings. We are physically isolated in online courses. Isolation may be a factor in attrition; community may increase persistence (Rovai, 2002). Rovai. A. P. (2002). “Building a Sense of Community at a Distance.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning., 3(1), April, 2002.

13 Social Presence Techniques Initial contacts Active involvement Projection of personality Good communication Timely interaction

14 Active Involvement Instructor Presence: From Frydenberg, J. (2008). “Facilitating a Distance Education Course.” Online Instructor Training. University of California Irvine.

15 Active Involvement What can you do each workday to be visibly present in your course?

16 Good Communication Practices Clarify to overcome the missing communication channels that normally help convey meaning Humanize to overcome the impersonal nature of textual communication Motivate to overcome the isolating nature of online learning Adapted from Chiles, A. (2008). “How to Win Your Students’ Confidence.”

17 Good Communication Practices Clarify Restate information or directions in different ways Use examples from student work Use the telephone or in-person meetings

18 Good Communication Practices Clarify Example Barbara, Here's what I usually do to make sure I see all the messages in a forum: 1. Click on Tree View in the upper right corner if you aren't already in tree view. Tree view lists everyone's initial posts. It also lists the replies under the main message, but indented. List view only lists the initial messages, not the replies. 2. Click Expand All at the bottom of the list of messages. This will ensure that all the messages and replies are listed. If you don't do this, new replies are collapsed into the original message, which has a plus sign next to it. You could just click each plus sign to show the replies, but it's faster to click Expand All. 3. View the new messages, which will be easy to spot because the title, author, and date/time are all in boldface type. The other forum you are referring to is the one titled "Open Forum." When you click the Discussion Board button, you will see all the discussion forums listed. The Open Forum is currently the second forum in the list, right under the Introductions forum. Bob

19 Good Communication Practices Humanize Use names Use a less formal, TA style Share some personal information and emotions Reference common experiences Use humor about safe topics

20 Good Communication Practices Humanize Example Gena, Your story has ironic meaning for me, because I received the kind of supervisory training you had to design when I worked for the government many years ago. Like you, I'm better at hard skills than soft ones. We had to role play a meeting with a problem employee. I played the supervisor and a colleague played my problem employee. The colleague channeled an actual problem employee of mine very well, and I slipped immediately into my normal, incorrect, easy- going mode with her. The trainer stopped the role play immediately, corrected me (gently), and restarted the role play. I did better the second time and have never forgotten the lesson. It's interesting that your project was more difficult to accomplish because of the diversity of your group, but I'll bet that diversity was also a powerful source of learning. For example, you learned about several different ways that people plan projects. I suspect that different people made different kinds of contributions based on different backgrounds and strengths, too. It's interesting, too, that the instructor sent you back to "work it out," which was probably not what you expected. Bob

21 Good Communication Practices Motivate Sandwich business between two positives Exaggerate positive reinforcement

22 Good Communication Practices Motivate Example Thanks, everyone, for a fantastic week of discussions. I particularly enjoyed reading your activity descriptions in this forum. I think that everybody gets the idea of learning activities that require teamwork and active exploration and generation of knowledge… One request for future discussions: When you cite a reference in the text of your message (Hue & Cry, 2007), please be sure to list the full citation (book title, publisher, article title, journal name, volume, pages, etc.) at the bottom of your posting like Mark did. It allows us to track down the source and read it ourselves if we so choose. I am interested in reading several of the sources cited during this discussion, but some would be hard to find. I hope you experienced the benefits of collaboration in this activity; discussion is the simplest form of collaboration, and I saw a lot of good ideas being exchanged and elaborated on during this discussion. I liked Susan’s statement about …

23 Good Communication Practices Practice Rewrite this instructor’s discussion forum response to clarify, humanize, and motivate: Student: I think patience is the most important quality. It’s more important than any kind of knowledge. You have to have patience. Instructor: This assertion needs evidence.

24 Summary Social presence is importance Social presence is created by: Initial contacts Active involvement Projection of personality Good communication Timely interaction Be visibly and substantially present in your course each working day Write to clarify, humanize, and motivate


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