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DEVELOPING SOCIAL PRESENCE IN ONLINE CLASSES
Over the past decade, the Internet has had a profound impact on higher education, enabling the phenomenal growth of online learning. The altered learning environments created by web-based courses not only eliminate barriers of time and space, providing increased access to higher education, they challenge our traditional notions of teaching and learning. In particular, a common concern among educators is that the mediated nature of online learning might prevent students from developing the sense that they are interacting with others, which social learning theories suggest supports learning. The antidote to this issue is the development of social presence in online classes. Drawing from her recent co-edited book, Social Presence in Online Learning, Dr. Karen Swan will explore the notion of social presence and its importance to the success of online classes. Particular attention will be paid to learning designs and teaching strategies that support the development of social presence.
Karen Swan is the Stukel Professor of Educational Research and a Research Associate in the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield. For the past 20 years, she has been teaching online, researching online learning, and writing extensively about her experiences. She received the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, National University Technology Network (NUTN) Distinguished Service Award, and the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award for her work in this area. She is also an OLC Fellow and a member of the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.