Social presence is a component of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework for teaching effective, engaging courses. Other components include teaching presence and cognitive presence. According to Garrison (2000), social presence has three categories: (1) emotional (affective) expression, where learners share personal expressions and values; (2) open communication, where learners develop aspects of mutual awareness and recognition; and (3) group cohesion, where learners build and sustain a sense of group commitment. In short, social presence is allowing students to show up as themselves and building a sense of community and belonging within the online environment.
20 Ways to Create Social Presence Online
- Post a welcome message to the course, setting expectations for communication.
- Create course rules for what is and is not acceptable.
- Publish a guide to “netiquette” as part of the course materials.
- Have students post profiles or introductory videos of themselves and their interests.
- Include visiting during office hours as a graded assignment with a sign-up sheet for coming in 10- or 15-minute intervals either alone or, for larger classes, coming in groups of 3-5.
- Allow students to do assignments that align with their personal interests.
- Design courses for learner choice, flexibility, and control.
- Encourage all students to participate and respond to each other in discussion boards.
- Encourage or require participation in class discussions.
- Have students incorporate content from the discussions or discussion forums into their assignment.
- Model posting and responding on discussion forums and in class activities.
- Have team-based, collaborative or problem-solving activities.
- Encourage both peer-to-peer and peer-to-instructor connections.
- Develop initial course activities that are icebreakers to encourage interaction. Ideas for ice breakers: The Discussion Book by Stephen D. Brookfield and Stephen Preskill.
- Use short videos to introduce the course, different topics and tech how-to.
- Use real time communication channels such as text, chat, or shared whiteboard space.
- Use audio and video for feedback on student assignments.
- Share stories and experiences with students.
- Have students lead discussions and be subject matter experts on topics.
- Develop peer-review assignments with clear rubrics for grading.
This information was compiled by Online Learning's Kristin Palmer and can be accessed in the below document.