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Establishing teacher presence in online teaching

by Gulcin Cosgun | 08 Mar 2021
Resource Description: This resource aims to provide some hints for teachers to have a stronger teacher visibility and presence in online education.
Audience: University
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced
Teaching Tip:

Although face-to-face teaching depends on physical presence, teaching presence in online education depends on other factors such as course design, clear instructions and guidance, learner support, interaction and so on.  Teacher presence in online courses begins before the course starts, continues during the delivery of the course and carries on even after the conclusion of the course (Noseworthy & Boswell, 2016).

First, strong teacher presence should be initiated in the design of an online course. As Noseworthy and Boswell (2016) suggest, the instructor can ensure presence through adopting elements which humanize the instructor, support learning activities, and provide opportunities for interaction and collaboration while designing the course. Some strategies to establish online instructor presence before the course starts can include:

  • sharing a teacher introduction and photograph on the course page
  • posting welcome messages or sending a welcome e-mail
  • preparing a course introduction video

Second, there are also various strategies for maintaining and increasing instructor presence during the course. Some strategies to increase online instructor presence during the course are as follows:

  • using tools such as polls, announcements, emails, and discussion forums frequently to interact with students
  • providing detailed and clear instructions
  • providing regular and detailed feedback (Even during the lessons we can use chat function for error correction and giving individual feedback)
  • monitoring learners’ progress closely and reaching out to struggling students
  • conducting weekly live chat sessions or coffee time with students
  • encouraging student questions through multiple venues (e.g. Q & A forums and feedback links after classes) and replying to questions promptly
  • sharing personal experiences and stories
  • setting clear “office hours”
  • having banner notices on the course page updated regularly (e.g. having posts to inform the class about the success or event in the life of a particular student or to provide information about a recent resource or article of interest)
  • having weekly trivia questions on the LMS page

Finally, after the course is completed, the teacher presence can be maintained through:

  • soliciting student feedback about the course
  • using that feedback to enhance the course



Aragon, S. R. (2003). Creating social presence in online environments. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 100, 57-68.

Noseworthy, E., & Boswell, W. (2016). Supporting learners in the virtual classroom through instructor presence. In K. A. Flores, K. D. Kirstein, C. E. Schieber, & S. G. Olswang (Eds.), Supporting the success of adult and online students: Proven practices in higher education (5th ed., pp. 271–280). Seattle, WA: CreateSpace Independent.