Teacher Presence in Online Discussions: The Tele-Teacher Presence as Embodied Identities and Visual Narratives

Teacher Presence in Online Discussions: The Tele-Teacher Presence as Embodied Identities and Visual Narratives

Chryssa Themelis (Lancaster University, UK)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3292-8.ch011
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The theory of tele-proximity is an expansion of the community of inquiry model (teacher, cognitive, and social presence) that embraces videoconferencing for distance education courses. It addresses the problem of distance, high drop-out rates and campus alienation in e-learning courses, and re-examined presences. The focus of the study is to investigate the ways visual presence affects identity online. The methodology is a literature review that could help the author to keep up with state-of-the-art research, as well as to evaluate the collective evidence. The chapter aims to reflect on the tele-teacher presence, and re-frame the role, controversies, and opportunities for educators teaching online. The revised tele-teacher framework could indicate the factors affecting presence online and inform educators, instructional designers, and policymakers about the implications for teaching and learning. Future research directions and recommendations will be also discussed.
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Tele-proximity (Themelis, 2013, 2016) refers to online embodiment that explains how instructors and students are connected in the synchronous networked environment via tele-operations/videoconferencing. Tele-proximity (online-embodiment) has the potential to enhance human to human (nearness/immediacy) and expand the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison et al., 2000) by redefining the three presences (teacher, cognitive and social) to include synchronous video enhanced communication (SVC). The relationship between Tele-proximity and (CoI) is the core of theory which embraces visual presences for e-learning courses.

Tele-proximity is a term used to designate that proximity (i.e. nearness/immediacy) is brought to a group of people via real-time telecommunication systems, computer networks, and so on (Kreijns et al., 2002, p. 14). The choice of speech during SVC can vary, depending on the experience of personal proximity, including tele-proximity of the addressee to the speaker (Jones, Ferriday & Hodgson, 2008). If there is more confidence or trust in the addressee, the speaker is more likely to adopt a more intimate speech genre. Every form of SVC communication has two aspects: one that concerns the relation between the message and the proceeding messages, and another concerned with the addressivity of the message, for instance, to whom it is directed. “Presence and proximity in these environments become forms of tele-presence and tele-proximity, that rely more heavily on interactional means to achieve identity formation” (Jones et al., 2008, p. 100). In other words, the tone of voice, the choice of words and the way a person talks or presents oneself in front of a camera could influence proximity and affect projection of self within the online community. It is “a human touch” that qualitatively alters the communication experience and describes personal narratives as identity.

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