Educational Theories,  Podcast,  Teaching & Learning

Transform Your Teaching: Building a Community of Inquiry for Effective Online Learning – Social Presence with Dr. Sheri Conklin 

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In this episode, Dr. Rob McDole and Jared Pyles discuss Rob and Jared continue the series on COI and discuss social presence with Dr. Sheri Conklin while at AECT in Orlando. Check out the episode to hear how instructors can make connections with students and how courses can provide peer-to-peer interaction. We would love to get your feedback! Please fill out our survey to help improve our podcast and serve you better. 

Podcast links

Show notes

Dr. Conklin’s interest in social presence began with her asking the question: “why do we need to have peer-to-peer interaction in every course? Is it necessary?” She discovered that students desire to have social interaction in their courses and highlighted some strategies that can effectively build social presence in a course: discussions on group work, student-to-student interactions, and the presence of the instructor. She also acknowledged the challenges, such as forced discussions and the need for engaging prompts, that instructors face in building social presence in online courses. Dr. Conklin suggests that social presence is crucial for building motivation and appreciation for the subject matter and that discussions should be purposeful and aligned with the objectives of the course. 

Dr. Conklin also shares the “FORCE” (feedback, organization, response time, clarity, and engagement) acronym which highlights the key factors that contribute to building social presence and effective online learning experiences. These elements were identified as important by student participants in a survey that she conducted during COVID-19 when education was pivoting to online. “FORCE” is a good entry point for faculty to think about how they can build social presence in their online courses. 


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