Course:OL Delivery:OTL301

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Creating a Positive Presence in Your Virtual Classroom

This course focuses on the creation of a “Teaching Presence” with building knowledge and skills required to create a positive learning environment and bring the human touch to the virtual class while developing and evaluating strategies for efficient time management.

What is Teaching Presence?

From the Community of Inquiry website at Athabasca University, teaching presence is defined as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educational worthwhile learning outcomes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

You will be able to

  1. analyze the characteristics of ‘teaching presence’ in an effective distance learning environment;
  2. critique your teaching presence in light of the characteristics of effective distance learning environments;
  3. evaluate the ways that interactions occur in a distance learning environment and develop ideas to encourage high quality educative interactions;
  4. devise, implement, and reflect on the effect of these strategies for efficient time management;
  5. explore the use of digital tools to enhance teaching presence and promote student learning;
  6. identify gaps in your current practice and establish relevant goals related to improving and enhancing your teaching presence in your courses;
  7. monitor your progress towards achieving your goals resulting in an improved and enhanced teaching presence in your courses.

Module 1


Hello and welcome to OTL101, 'Creating a Positive Presence in your Virtual Classroom'. We trust that this will be an enriching and challenging course for you that will help you to understand more deeply how you can encourage deep, meaningful learning experiences for your students. This course is one of three courses offered by Thompson Rivers University Open Learning's Program Delivery department and is based on the venerable Community of Inquiry (CoI) model of teaching and learning described by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson and Walter Archer in their article Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education.

This course is structured differently from what you may be accustomed to in that it is built using WordPress rather than a learning management system like Blackboard Learn or Moodle. The reason for this is to allow for a wider reach and greater possibility for community engagement after the course has completed. Instead of logging into a 'secure', protected course space where your only audience is the instructor and a few others who may be taking the course at the same time as you, you will create and control your own space which can be as open or closed as you want it to be. Certainly, we will encourage you to make your thoughts as open and as public as possible which will enable you to gather an audience that is potentially as large as the Internet.