allysonIn the Online classroom, there is very little that can take the place of a teacher’s presence. However, many instructors wrestle with translating their face to face teaching persona into an equally effective and engaging online identity.  Although an instructor’s tone, sense of humor, and overall personality help to establish rapport and repertoire in a face to face classroom, these subtle and often under appreciated nuances are still valuable attributes to implement in the design and delivery of an online class (Cox, Black, Heney, & Keith, 2015).

In many ways, Instructor/Teacher Presence has perhaps become yet another platitude tossed to and fro. While the phraseology borders on cliché, there are specific characteristics of “present” courses and instructors which help to make facilitation effective in both the planning or design of a class and during the time of delivery. Conceivably, the objective is to identify the experience that our students desire and to minimize the difficulty of implementing the optimal level of engagement in an online course (Sheridan & Kelly, 2010).

Teacher Presence has been defined as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the realization of personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes” (Anderson, Archer, Garrision, & Rourke, 2001). Teacher presence is conscientiously exemplified through course design and delivery through some of the following ways:

Instructor Presence in Design (ID assisted):

  • Aligning course objectives with assessments (FAU eLearning Blueprint)
  • General organization of course content (FAU Instructional Designer)
  • Consistency within course structure (CEL template)
  • Laying out netiquette (FAU policies)
  • Establishing time parameters (CEL course schedule)

Instructor Presence in Delivery:

  • Communicating with students about content and life
  • Providing access to information related to students’ personal or professional interests
  • Establishing and maintaining a sense of community among students
  • Posting regularly to discussion boards
  • Responding to inquiries and email in a timely manner
  • Providing in-depth feedback on assignments
  • Challenging students to deepen their thinking


Myriad studies have noted the important role that teacher presence plays in the support of online learning (Anderson, Archer, Garrison, & Rourke, 2001; Cox, Black, Heney, & Keith, 2015). The FAU Center for eLearning recognizes the significant influence a teacher’s presence can have on a course and offers guidance, tips, and strategies for helping our instructors pinpoint and implement a course design and online persona that is most reflective of the environment they wish to create in the course.

We welcome you to drop in anytime and speak to an ID about designing and delivering with “presence” in your online class.


Anderson, T., Archer, W., Garrison, D. R., & Rourke, L. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1+. Retrieved from
Cox, S., Black, J., Heney, J., & Keith, M. (2015). Promoting teacher presence: Strategies for effective and efficient feedback to student writing online. Teaching English in the Two Year College, 42(4), 376-391. Retrieved from


Sheridan, K., & Kelly, M. A. (2010). The indicators of instructor presence that are important to students in online courses. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(4), 767. Retrieved from