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Author: Allen D. Meyer, PhD

As online professors we don't have the privilege of face-to-face contact with students during which they form impressions of us based on things such as facial expressions, tangible and intangible expressions of caring, and tone of voice. We have to connect with our students in different ways, one of which is what the research calls “instructor presence.” In fact, the presence that we demonstrate is really the first step in the process of connecting with and then influencing our students.

The reality is that our mere presence in the online classroom demonstrates care and concern that opens up our students to our positive influence. In addition, the presence we demonstrate early in the course determines the perception students have of our care and concern throughout the course. Below are two ways to establish presence in an online course:

Allen D. Meyer is an assistant professor and department chair of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University.