Going into 2022: The Importance Of Instructor Presence In Online Education

Online Education

Technological innovations have brought massive changes to the education system. Despite the changes, the teacher-student relationship has remained paramount. Studies have confirmed that this relationship is critical regardless of the mode of learning (face-to-face or online). However, the different learning modes have brought a different dynamic to this integral relationship.

Nowadays, numerous online learning platforms offer different online learning experiences. Therefore, if you have expertise on a particular subject consider joining a platform like Preply, which offers tutoring jobs online of different languages and subjects. Apart from creating many online teaching jobs, they also will enable the student to inquire directly from a professional on issues they are having challenges with.

Educational experts have warned that there is a danger of psychological remoteness. They claim that online classes exacerbate relational distance between the student and the teacher. Studies have also revealed that online courses allow students and instructors to interact more through emails, discussion boards, and emails. Nevertheless, stakeholders must take conscious steps to overcome the negative perception of relational distance in online learning.

Instructor Presence Is Critical

One sure way of minimizing this perception is ensuring there is instructor presence. What does instructor presence mean? It means creating the perception for the learners that the teacher is right there with them throughout the learning process.

Here are some strategies educators can adapt to improve instructor presence:

  • The tutors should help their students know more about them. For example, they can include their avatars on their profiles. They can also share more about themselves, including their teaching philosophy, personal and professional interests, and research. The best way to do this would be via a brief video talking to the students to boost the feeling of presence.
  • Teachers should consider beginning every week with a supportive note to their students. The note should explain the week’s course outcomes and work expectations. Additionally, they can include a comment about a current event related to the week’s coursework.
  • When sharing slides, narrate them with your own voice. Use a conversational tone and include humor, examples, anecdotes, and some storytelling.
  • Log in to the online course platform frequently and leave your students a note to show them that you have been there. For instance, you can leave an announcement, a note to your students, or post on the discussion board.
  • Anticipate the questions your students could be having and create an FAQ section. You can also have an instant messenger tool available during the week.

Build Encouragement Into The Online CourseBuild Encouragement Into The Online Course

Building encouragement is an excellent way of reducing relational distance and increasing instructor presence. This involves explaining to then learners what makes the course content applicable. Additionally, having an encouraging and supportive atmosphere helps the students to maintain a positive attitude about their learning. 

Therefore, an online tutor should identify areas where they can include encouragement in the learning activities. If you have taught the same subject for a while, you probably know the most challenging areas for students.

Use encouraging language throughout the course, including in your announcements, to help change the overall climate of the course. For example, create an atmosphere where students feel that you acknowledge their fears and the help they need is available. This approach helps to reduce anxiety, making learning more effective.

Experts also advise online tutors to add some language throughout that explains, informs, and connects ideas to the course. When you add this type of information to the course, you enlighten your students on why reading, activity, or skill is essential.

Furthermore, this approach also allows online tutors to provide value for their knowledge and experience as educators- this is something that other academic materials cannot offer. You can use announcements within the course modules to provide this information.

Some of the things you can provide are:

  • A module overview detailing the topic you will cover, its flow from the previous topic, and how it applies to students’ future careers. You can also let them know how it will prepare them for what they will study next. This also offers you an excellent opportunity to share relevant experiences from your studies and career.
  • You can also include a few statements explaining to the learners how the learning activities relate to the learning materials and how activities will help them perform well in their assessments.

Bottom Line

Integrating this type of encouragement and communication in your online course will make it fresh in the learners’ eyes. This approach will help address the issues of relational distance that many teachers and students face when shifting to online learning environments. Adding these strategies to your online course might require some time and extra effort. However, when you look at the benefits, every effort is worth your while.

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