This is easier done in an online course where you have opportunity for regular, online interaction with learners. However it is possible, in both the online and print course environments, to establish a presence as a guide for learners through the course content and (particularly in the online environment) as a co-investigator of questions and problems which emerge. The establishing of instructor presence is a process. The process may begin with some sharing of information about:
- You and your background
- Your expectation for interaction with learners
- Your style of teaching within the context of this course
Some first steps in the process, applicable to both online and correspondence delivery are:
- The development of a biography – describing your background, interest in the course material and (perhaps) something about you and your life which you may want your learners to know about.
- Your first contact with learners (via telephone, email and/or posting within the course website).
This should be welcoming, an opportunity for students to seek clarification from you regarding course requirements or content and a chance for you to impart something about who you are and opening the door for communication so that you can get a sense of who they are.
In addition, if you intend to communicate regularly with students online, you will want to consider:
- Regular posting of announcements. This gives students guidance and keeps them on track.
- Letting students know your online teaching style; whether you will be posting every day or weekly; whether you will respond to each post or only those where clarification, guidance, or comment is required.