Social Presence

photograph of a group around a campfire at night

A group of people gathered around a sparking campfire at dusk. Tents and trees in the background. Image in the public domain.

The Community of Inquiry framework invites us to understand online learning as a collaborative endeavor. Social presence refers to the ability of learners to locate themselves within a community of inquiry, communicate purposefully in a supportive and inclusive environment, and develop social relationships with peers and faculty. (Garrison 2009).

Social presence is developed by engaging students in clearly defined academic expectations and interactions focused on learning. Social presence helps construct an online environment for thinking and learning collaboratively in alignment with the academic goals of the course.

For more information about Social Presence, please watch this short video prepared by Dr. Lora Taub, Dean of Digital Learning at Muhlenberg College.

(Garrison, R. Thinking Collaboratively: Learning in a Community of Inquiry. NY: Routledge, 2016).

In the next module we will learn more about the Seven Principles of Effective Teaching and how they improve and strengthen online courses.