In 2016, our team was challenged by our college leadership to address the initiative: "Increasing Instructor Presence with the use of Technology." We learned many things about faculty development during this process that led us to the successful implementation of a 7 series module training product.
The first element that became apparent was the differing opinions about "what" instructor presence is. Our team was familiar with the Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson, Archer 2000), but it was important that we develop training that made this concept clear, to increase likelihood of successful application.
We also learned that instructors have very diverse viewpoints, limited work time, comfort levels for sharing personal information, experience with technology, and personal success goals. Meeting the diverse needs of the instructors, also became a key variable to consider as the training was developed.
In collaboration with our supportive media team, content and development goals were specified prior to creating module content. The first module was launched to College of Health, Human Services, and Science faculty in May of 2017, followed by subsequent modules being launched every few months. The final module was released to this body of faculty in October of 2018.
*Analysis is continuing and results will be updated on this website.
In January 2019, the formal IRB approved research project team began collecting data. Data gathering is ongoing and outcomes will be continuously shared with the academic community. At this time, these are our findings:
*A one-tailed, paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare drop rates among those who completed the entire series of modules. Results revealed a significant difference between pre-treatment (M = 15%, SD = 6%) and post-treatment conditions (M = 11%, SD = 7%), t(57) = -3.76, p = .0002. These results suggest that completion of the presence modules made a marked improvement in retention.
*In addition, a one-tailed, paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare success rates among those who completed the entire series of modules. The analysis revealed a significant differences between pre-treatment (M = 79%, SD = 8%) and post-treatment conditions (M = 82%, SD = 10%), t(57) = 2.41, p = .0096. These results suggest that completion of the presence modules made a marked improvement in student success.
The institution has now created an Instructor Presence Certification, which is available to all faculty throughout the university, suggesting a useful sustainable product to advance instruction online.
Current scholarly work associated with the project:
Rebeor, S., Rosser-Majors, M., McMahon, C., Anderson, S., Harper, Y., Sliwinski, L. (June, 2019). Effective instruction in virtual higher education: Ensuring cognitive, social and teaching presence. International Conference on Education and New Developments. Porto, Portugal.
Rebeor, S., Rosser-Majors, M., McMahon, C., Anderson, S. (April, 2019). Social, cognitive, & teaching presence: Impact on faculty and AU’s diverse student body. TCC Worldwide Online Conference.
Sliwinski, L. & Rosser-Majors, M. L. (2018). Faculty development and student learning: A deep dive into instructor presence. Presented for the Online Learning Consortium, Orlando, Florida.