ETEC 648- Session 5: Instructional Presence, Communication, and Motivation

1. In your own words, define Instructional Presence.
Instructional presence is an equal part in keeping the Community of Inquiry Model balanced along with cognitive and social presence. Instructional presence is how an instructor purposefully and effectively designs a course, how they facilitate as they guide students to collaborate and exchange information and feedback, and how they carefully select the resources, provide the content of the course, and assess it in the direct instruction component.
2. Name three things that your instructor identifies as contributing to Instructional Presence. Explain why these are, or are not consistent with your definition of Instructional Presence.
• Demonstrate course knowledge
• Providing useful and personalized feedback
• Responding to student questions or comments promptly
Demonstrating course knowledge, providing useful and personalized feedback, and responding to student questions and comments promptly all fit in with my definition of instructional presence. By designing a course purposefully and effectively, the instructor is demonstrating course knowledge. By providing useful and personalized feedback, the instructor is facilitating the learning of students. When the instructor responds to student questions or comments, it shows students that the instructor is actively engaged with students and that he or she cares about their success in the course.

3. Who are the researchers most often identified with the construct of “Teaching Presence”?
• Rodgers and Raider-Roth
• Garrison, Anderson, and Archer
• Swan, Garrison, and Richardson

4. What are the three components of Teaching Presence? Name and describe each.
Design and Organization- The selection of the curriculum, methods, and learning activities for a course is the main purpose of design and organization. They will also determine the time parameters for the course by deciding how long and how many modules or sessions each course will be.
Facilitating Discourse- The instructor guides students to have constructive exchanges in the online course by drawing them into the discussion by prompting them and asking specific questions. This helps create a sense of community as students collaborate purposefully.
Direct Instruction- This is where the instructor presents the content of the course. They provide resources such as textbooks, articles, websites, and their own dialogue to provide knowledge. Instructors also assess and provide feedback in this component.

5. Choose one of the three components of teaching presence named in item #4 and identify ways and instructor can create or improve this type of presence in an online class.
Design and Organization
• Clearly communicate the goals for the course
• Provide clear instructions on how to complete course assignments, activities, and discussions
• Follow a pattern as far as when assignments and discussions are due
• Break the course into manageable sessions/modules with a specific focus for each week

6. Explain how the readings this week (and your own research) connects with the Blackboard discussion.
The discussion and the readings were connected because it helped us make a connection between our actual experiences in the online classroom and what the research suggests about teaching presence. The video feedback discussion was interesting because everyone had different opinions about providing and receiving video feedback. The readings said that providing media feedback could increase instructional presence because it was more like what would happen in a traditional classroom. There are many ways to increase instructional presence in the online classroom, and it is important for instructors to be aware of them and to be willing to try new practices with their students. With practice, instructors will continue to implement the methods that work successfully for them. Unfortunately, that also means that instructors who need to improve their instructional presence may not try other strategies because they think that what they are already doing is working just fine.

7. Quote your best entry from this week’s Blackboard discussion. Explain why you chose it and what it demonstrates about your understanding, learning process etc.
This is my response to the teaching presence discussion question. I chose it because my experiences with online learning have helped me see the COI model work successfully, and I have also seen its implementation fail completely when the teaching presence has not been equally balanced with the cognitive and social presences.
I think that teaching presence is key to making the Community of Inquiry model work in online teaching. The instructor is responsible for making sure that students can achieve cognitive presence by taking the time and the resources to create learning activities that will stimulate them as they think deeply and critically. The instructor has to develop quality discussion questions for discussion boards that are at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and that require students to respond and think at a deeper level.
I think that organizing the course in a manner that is easy for students to follow is important. I also think that chunking projects into smaller and doable parts is important to help students keep up with the pacing, especially in a ten-week course.

8. Identify the student you think was the most important participant in the Blackboard discussion. Explain why and provide at least one quote from that student’s contributions to the Blackboard discussion.
Laura and Christen always have insightful responses on the discussion boards. I thought Laura’s response was focused and she answered all the parts of the question as she made connections to her experiences. I connected with what she said because I have also taken classes with Dr. Newberry and I agree that they are great models of what online instruction should look like. I have also taken online courses in which it is difficult to decipher what we have to do and when it is due, even though the professor thinks everything is clear. I agree with Laura’s list of what I would like to do in my own online classes.
I agree with Christen that you have a great balance of contributing to the discussion without dominating. As I read the articles about teaching presence, I could see the efforts you make to accomplish this. (Not sucking up. 🙂 ) After taking approximately 20 online courses, I feel most connected to the instructor, other students, and the content in your classes. Also, interestingly enough, I have made connections with other students that have transcended the class. I keep in touch with a few students that I “met” in the first class I took at CSUSB (541, I think). Some I have never met face to face. So, I look back on my experiences with online courses and images come to mind of things instructors do and don’t do that I can view as what not to do. As, I have models of what- to do.
One comment that resonated with me was ” Try to design activities where they can spend more time learning and less time trying to figure out what to do to learn.” (Newberry) A certain class I am currently taking requires massive amounts of time to read pages of directions for an assignment. When I am finished reading it, I am confused. I am sure the instructor thinks his Module 3 Step 1 Part 2, etc. instructions are simple to follow. However, to me, it is like solving a puzzle. Students in my assigned group seem to feel the same way.
Going forward there are several things that I will try to implement in my online classes:
• Clear, concise directions
• Student-Instructor interaction at the content level, discussions, rapid and authentic feedback to students
• Construct and support a form for student-student interaction
• Monitor the difficulty and volume of work (It can be rigorous, engaging, and challenging without overwhelming the student so that they give up.)
• Rapid response to questions and concerns

9. Reflect on what you have learned this week. What have you learned that has the potential to inform or influence you or your practice of online learning going forward? Explain why.
I learned that instructional presence is the key to keeping the balance in the COI model. If the instructor is doing his or her part in designing the course, then the other two presences will be more successful. Since I teach in a traditional elementary school classroom, I have to find ways that I can implement some of the components of online learning with my students so that we can have more of a blended classroom. However, I have to be judicious as I choose what to do face-to-face and what to do online and make sure that I implement only the best practices for both.


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