How have my views of effective practice changed now that I have read more about teaching presence?
The first piece of teaching presence: design of the course, is at least initially out of my hands. I hope to be able to add some aspects to it but as I haven’t seen the course yet, am unsure how that works.
However in the second part of teaching presence; facilitating discourse. I can see more clearly how important facilitating discourse is and liken it to facilitating group process but in written form. It gives me a template to work from.
Anderson et al. (2001) make a strong case for the last piece in teaching presence; direct instruction. Any reservations I had about inserting myself and my expertise into the conversation were relieved. I liked the notion of introducing personal experience, links etc to help further learners’ knowledge. It was a good reminder about the importance of scaffolding.
Using these TRU On-line teaching courses as examples of effective practice show some great practice as well as some shortcomings. On the good practice side, the course design is excellent. As for facilitating discourse, there are requests to read other’s posts and to comment but there is no facilitation by the moderator. If one is off track, there is no instructor feedback. (I understand that this is the nature of this type of course).
Direct instruction is modelled by providing links to relevant material and the course is scaffolded by building on previous instruction. However the personal experience and feedback from the instructor are missing.
Including moderator facilitation of posts and direct instructor feedback would have made these courses even more effective.