In week 6 of EdTech 522, there were a multitude of readings to be read, discussing best practices for online instruction, including such topics as creating and maintaining a cognitive, social & teaching presence. Maintaining these attributes throughout an online course helps students to first, “construct knowledge together as they engage in interactions”, and second, “build interpersonal relationships that impact learning activities” (Stavredes, 2011). In addition, as an online instructor, it is important to build a teacher presence in order to facilitate the cognitive and social construction, while learners achieve the course objectives.
I found that these three attributes come up within each EdTech course and I believe that these are the three main characteristics of my own learning that I have experienced during these courses. For example, at the beginning of each course, the instructor has each student introduce themselves to each other through a discussion forum or even hold a short video conference. This helps students create professional contacts and even teams, that support each other throughout the course. During these first introductory forums, there are even questions and discussions brought up by peers that meander off the path, and provide helpful information to the rest of the class, as they share their experiences in educational technology and questions or “needs improvement” from previous courses. This first, yet simple, discussion causes cognitive and social presence to begin and continues, as long as the instructor facilitates the discussions, requesting that each student respond to at least 2 other peer’s points.
Of all the differing goals & objectives of online courses and ways that learners, young and old, learn best and how that can be accomplished, I believe that the most important thing for an online instructor to recall, should be to establish and maintain a cognitive, social & teacher Presence. Without these three attributes, I believe that online courses would not accomplish their goals and students would not partake in these courses.
Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective online teaching: Foundations and strategies for student success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.