Social presence needs to be maintained throughout the course in order to ensure all students actively participate in the course and do not find themselves isolated. One key to success is responding to students in a timely fashion. Get to know your students’ names and use them.
Response times – Establish, and agree with your students, the response times for any queries and/or postings, and stick to them.
Know your students – Get to ‘know’ your students by listening to what they have to say both in online classes and online interactions such as discussion forums or emails.
Check in with students – Regularly check if your students are on track and gently probe those who are in difficulty.
Online collaborative activities – Organise an online collaborative activity and engage with each group, use verbal as well as textual communication.
Online educators’ perspectives
Meet our online educators: Dr. Helen Coker from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Dr Sinead Eccles from the Open Education Unit, DCU. In this three minute video Helen and Sinéad explain why social presence is so important in online education and how they have managed to achieve it.