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Nonverbal Communication in Online Courses

So many important messages are communicated nonverbally in face-to-face courses. There's tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and the use of space—all with the potential to enhance the meaning of the verbal message. In online courses with the instructor not physically present, nonverbal communication is not an option—at least that's what many instructors think. Authors of a recent study appearing in Communication Education take issue with that conclusion. They describe three kinds of nonverbal communication that occur in online courses, each with the potential to create the sense that the instructor is present in the course and interested in fostering student engagement.

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