#EDUC90970 Developing a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching

COVID 19 forced a quick transition from face-to-face to online teaching. This quick transition left little room to drastically redesign content for online delivery. However, it may have catalysed an increased interested in online teaching and its optimisation. For application to my own teaching, I have made this a key theme in my learning through the Graduate Certificate for University Teaching. A key component of learning is ‘presence’, and through the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI) three dimensions of presence is described: social, cognitive and teaching (Garrison et al. 1999; Figure 1). Where these three dimensions interact, it is thought that this is where effective and deep learning occurs.

Figure 1: Community of Inquiry model (Image: https://coi.athabascau.ca/)

It is argued that developing a community in online teaching is harder than face-to-face teaching, and often where online learning fails is through a feeling of isolation (Joyner et al. 2019). However, it is also clear that how we design online teaching and use technology to create an online learning community is fundamental to its success (Garrison et al. 1999). This means that teachers and students may need to learn to use different media to foster presence. For example, moving away from the traditional PowerPoint and Word to do presentations and assignments. To think about my digital presence currently, I produced a ‘Visitors and Residents’ map (White and Le Cornu, 2011; Figure 2).

Figure 2: Visitor and Residents map (http://experimental.worldcat.org/vandrmapping/editMap). Orange circles= predominantly personal use; Blue clouds = use in research and teaching; Green rectangles = use in research only; Pink rectangles = use in teaching only; Text only = new tools from #EDUC90980

This map is useful to identify areas where the tools that I am using can be translated to my teaching. For example, social media can be used as a platform to foster student engagement (Joyce and Brown, 2009). However, I currently only use social media in my personal life and to create research links (via Twitter). This approach could also inform the types of digital tools students are using and could therefore be applied in teaching. Stay tuned for how this map develops over time!


Garrison, DR, Anderson T, Archer W. 1999. Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education 2: 85-109.

Joyce KA, Brown A. 2009. Enhancing Social Presence in Online Learning: Mediation Strategies Applied to Social NetworkingOnline Journal of Distance Learning Administration, vol. 12, no. 4 (Winter).

Joyner DA, Isbell C, Starner T, Goel A. 2019. Five years of graduate CS education online and at scale. CompEd ’19, May 17–19, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

White DS, Le Cornu A. 2011. Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

3 thoughts on “#EDUC90970 Developing a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching

  1. A well constructed reflection @morris_becki I’d be interested to see how you apply your GCUT experiences to your own teaching practice as we progress through #EDUC90970. Here’s an example of a reflection upon conceptual change from Martin Dougiamis – the developer of Moodle, and one of my own collaborative experiences: Cochrane, Thomas, & Bateman, Roger. (2010). A mobile learning journey: Or “a tale of two academics pedagogical partnership”. Paper presented at the The 6th International Conference on Technology , Knowledge and Society 2010, Free University, Berlin, Germany. Virtual retrieved from http://t10.cgpublisher.com/proposals/89/index_html
    Dougiamas, Martin. (1998, 9 November 2007). A journey into constructivism. Retrieved 25 August, 2010, from http://dougiamas.com/writing/constructivism.html


  2. Becki,

    Your V&R diagram had plenty of stuff on it – I am jealous! Until starting #EDUC90970 I had only used the four tools in the blue clouds, so I have some catching up to do. Perhaps I should let the students teach me?



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