Week 2: Social Presence


Encouraging social presence from participants in your online course is an important part of the community building process. Imagine if an instructor didn’t show up to teach in a face-to-face class? What makes an instructor successful in an online classroom is no different than a face-to-face classroom. Your role as the lecturer or faculty is to help your students become more involved in the subject area and content, connect them with you (the professor), and other students.

In this module, learners will explore techniques to increase social presence in online courses. Live sessions with Rena Palloff and the point/counterpoint session with Maha Bali and Peggy Semingson this week will dig deeper into how to build community online and explore the use of asynchronous and synchronous tools for facilitating presence.


  • What are your thoughts about learning online and developing community online?
  • Consider how students must feel when they cannot meet with their classmates and instructor in the classroom, how can you make them feel connected to their learning community?
  • How can your learning activity design enhance the social connectedness of learners?


  • Examine the use of asynchronous tools to extend the boundaries of the classroom.
  • Consider how you can leverage technology to help students be more “real” with each other.
  • Set achievable personal goals for establishing your social presence and for utilizing social media tools.


  • Read articles regarding social presence.
  • Attend Google Hangout “Building Online Learning Communities” with Dr. Rena Palloff – Seminal Author – http://www.amazon.com/Rena-M.-Palloff/e/B001JS7ZXC
  • Attend Google Hangout “Affordances of Technology: Asynchronous vs. Synchronous” with Dr. Maha Bali – American University in Cairo and Dr. Peggy Semingson from the University of Texas at Arlington.
  • Participate through blogging or twitter during live twitter chats during the Google Hangouts (hashtag #HumanMOOC).
  • Share social learning activity design tips, and participate in the FlipGrid Activity sharing your goals for enhancing your online course with social presence.

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