Online Presence Strategies

January 17, 2023

Build a Community of Inquiry in your online course with these strategies to establish a presence in your course!

The Importance of Presence

Primarily, your students look to you to set the tone and pace of the course. Effective course design helps you achieve these goals, but learners are more likely to notice your engagement in a well-designed course than they will the course design itself. Thus, your presence should be paramount as you design and deliver your online courses.

Bottom line: Students stay engaged if they see you as a caring expert who cares about their progress through your course. 

Using the Community of Inquiry Framework (see Figure 1) first proposed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000), we can design courses that build a meaningful connection in service to learning. Garrison et al. write, “learning occurs within the community through the interaction of three core elements: cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence.”

Figure 1

Types of Presence and Strategies

Social Presence

When you share your personal interests or hobbies, own your mistakes, and share your struggles with the material from your undergraduate days, you establish a social presence wherein learners can see you as genuine or “real.”  Show that you are a multi-dimensional person who genuinely cares about the material and student success. Your ability to support content discourse and set the class tone becomes more effective when learners see you are interested in their learning. 

Social Presence Strategies

  1. Share real examples of who you are as an expert and as a person with a life outside the classroom (e.g., hobbies/interests, personal life details) in your “About Me” Page in Canvas. 
  2. Own the mistakes you make in the course design or delivery and acknowledge when you don’t know and that you know how to find out. Modeling this behavior reminds learners that experts make mistakes, too, and they know how to amend them. Use the course announcements feature in Canvas to ensure students can see how you present yourself. 

Cognitive Presence

Connect with students through support, guidance, and mentorship as they grow intellectually in your course. Your expertise in selecting the content and supporting class discourse structures the space where students take in your interaction with them and reflect on their learning in the course. How effectively learners make meaning out of their work in your course depends on the opportunities provided for that reflection. 

Cognitive Presence Strategies

  1. Personalized feedback in conjunction with a rubric. Be sure to note where learners are succeeding and where they need improvement and offer concrete steps they can take to make that improvement happen in the next submission. 
  2. Provide an example of what you are looking for in an assessment submission. Or, give an automatic 100 on the first of many assignments but show that grade in conjunction with robust feedback to improve subsequent work. 

Teaching Presence

Learners’ ability to meaningfully achieve the stated learning objectives requires your teaching presence to guide and structure cognitive and social presence. Developing interpersonal trust (social presence) and creating opportunities for meaningful reflection on mastery of the content (cognitive presence) impact the selection of content and how you set the learning tone in the course.

Build a learning community with students using tools to deliver instruction, answer questions, and address issues in the course. 

Teaching Presence Strategies

  1. Deploy brief content introduction videos showing your face and/or post-screen recordings with yourself to guide students through a difficult topic/section. 
  2. Use regular course announcements to give students directives and updates, and to bridge the gap between last week’s content and this week’s content.


Works Cited

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education model. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

QM Cohort

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Figure 2 – Click the image to learn more about this opportunity.

If you are seeking professional development for your tenure or promotion file and you have taught a course either fully online or hybrid at least once, consider applying for the Spring 2023 QM Cohort!

You will receive training in applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) to ensure quality online education, a digital badge from QM for successfully completing the APPQMR course, a $500 stipend, and more! Click the QM image (Figure 2) to learn more.

Applications will close on January 30th, 2023.


Apply for the QM Cohort 2023!

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, January 18th

Presentation – Online Teaching Strategies for Linguistically Diverse Learners

Teaching a linguistically diverse student population in an online setting requires strategies that complement the specific modality of instruction while providing unique support for students that are still developing English proficiency. Register for this presentation to learn about frameworks and strategies that will best support this student population in an online learning environment. 

Facilitated by Yamil Ernesto Ruiz, Quality Matters Coordinator. 

A Zoom link will be emailed to registered participants, at least 24 – 48 hours prior to the day of the event. This session will be recorded and all registered participants will receive a link to the recording. Contact James Butler with any questions about this session.

Thursday, January 26th

Quick Hits: Intro to Kaltura

Join this Quick Hits session for a demonstration of the basics of Kaltura. You will learn how to upload videos to your Kaltura account, how to edit the details of a video, and how to embed a Kaltura video into Canvas. 

Facilitated by Gray Jackson, Learning Technology Specialist. 

A Zoom link will be emailed to registered participants, at least 24 – 48 hours prior to the day of the event. This session will be recorded and all registered participants will receive a link to the recording. Contact James Butler with any questions about this session. 

Clemson Online Spring 2023 Events Calendar

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Figure 3 – Click here for the full Clemson Online Events Calendar.

Review our Spring 2023 Events Calendar to see what Online Instruction Development opportunities await!

We have a robust Spring semester lineup of topics and live training formats to support your use of Canvas and other e-learning tools. Topics cover demonstrations of using Kaltura, presentations on inclusive practices for online education, and workshops to get your Canvas site ready to teach!

Click the image (Figure 3) to reach our full calendar, and click on any training title for details and registration.

All of our live training is recorded. Registrants will automatically receive a link to that day’s video after it has been processed.

Contact James Butler with any questions about these sessions.

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