Creating a Culture of Engagement

Creating a Culture of Engagement

Katherine Erdman Becker (South Dakota State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5631-2.ch015
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Many online faculty members pattern their teaching after traditional models of face-to-face instruction. However, these models fail to support meaningful content delivery and interaction in today's online classroom. This chapter discusses faculty development efforts that serve to cultivate effective online teaching practices. Presenting the communication processes and technical skills necessary to create social presence in online and hybrid courses, the chapter equips both novice and experienced instructors with the tools required to redesign traditional courses for online delivery, to deliver quality instruction, and to promote strong interaction. Teaching strategies and adult learning theory are explored. The appropriate use of technology to achieve desired student learning outcomes is also discussed. In addition, instructors' concerns and attitudes towards the implementation of social presence strategies in online learning are examined.
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Swan (2004) in a meta-analysis of literature on relationships between interaction and learning found distinct connections between teaching presence, social presence and student learning. Teaching presence (i.e., faculty facilitation of instruction, quantity and quality of interactions, on-going/immediate feedback) contributed to successful student learning outcomes. Social presence (i.e., interaction with classmates in discussion forums, sharing of experiences and beliefs, modeling verbal immediacy behaviors) reduced psychological distance between participants and contributed to feelings of safety in the learning environment (Vella, 2002). A general sense of social presence was linked to attainment of learning outcomes across all studies reviewed by Swan.

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