Course Activity and Digital Badge

Each registered participant will develop one activity that employs various concepts and strategies introduced in the course. Participants will be asked to complete assignments in between the course segments that support the learning objectives and will receive feedback and constructive critique from the facilitator on how to improve and shape their work. Those registered participants that successfully complete the entire activity will receive an EDUCAUSE digital badge recognizing their accomplishment.

Schedule and Activities

Session 1: Humanizing: Instructor Presence

February 1, 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET; convert to your time zone.

Students in higher education want to “connect” in the courses that they take. Enabling them to connect both academically and socially is critical to their success in the course and the program. They have a desire to connect with the content they are provided, connect with other students, and also establish a connection with their instructor. In this course we are learning about how to create these connections so that students feel like they have a true “presence” in our classes. In this session we are specifically talking about Instructor Presence.

Establishing instructor presence is critical in an online class so that students do not feel isolated and alone. Imagine if an instructor didn’t show up to teach in a face-to-face class? What makes an instructor successful in an online classroom is no different than a face-to-face classroom. Your role as the lecturer or faculty is to help your students become more involved in the subject area and content, connect them with you (the professor), and other students.

Session Activity

  • Course Introduction Activity: Participants will create “Course Introduction” videos. In these videos, participants will introduce themselves to their students, why they enjoy teaching the course, and set expectations for the course.
  • Instructor Presence Reflection Activity: Using FlipGrid, participants will create and share videos to answer the question “How do you establish Instructor Presence in your online courses?”
  • Instructor Presence Tools Activity: Participants will create their FlipGrid posts to share their experiences using different tools to improve their teaching online. The responses may cover issues related to the pros and cons of using video in online courses to increase instructor presence and build a community of online learners, methods and tools that they have used in their online class or what others have done that they want to try soon. They will also be encouraged to respond and comment on others posts.


Session 2: Humanizing: Social Presence

February 8, 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET; convert to your time zone.

Encouraging social presence from participants in your online course is an important part of the community building process. Imagine if an instructor didn’t show up to teach in a face-to-face class? Community building is a very human process. Your role as the lecturer or faculty is to help your students become more involved in the content, connect them with you (the professor), and other students. In this session we will explore strategies and common mistakes made in the development and support of social presence in online learning environments.

Session Activity

  • Setting Personal Goals Activity: Participants will create a FlipGrid post listing 3-5 personal goals for building social presence in their online teaching, and what tools they might use to achieve those goals.
  • Social Presence Tools and Design Activity: Participants will share ways in which you use social media, multimedia and other tools to enhance social presence of within their courses using the following questions to guide their response:
    • How do you use these tools in your class? Give specific examples.


    • What tools do you use? Share an example here.
    • When choosing tools to use for this purpose, how do you evaluate the tools?
    • Where do you go to find new ideas for tools to implement?
    Responses to these questions can be created different tools (blogs, video tools, audio tools...) and shared on the discussion board.
  • Social Presence Reflection Activity: Using YellowDig, participants will share their own ideas, tools, experiences and helpful resources about designing effective social learning activities. Participants will be encouraged to respond and comment on other people's’ posts. These questions will be used to guide the discussion:
    • What has worked for you?
    • Have any models or theories influenced your own activity design?
    • Do you use rubrics, software, or other tools? If so, please share with your colleagues.


Session 3: Humanizing: Cognitive Presence

February 22, 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET; convert to your time zone.

There are many methods to engage learners in the cognitive domain and these typically involve other forms of presence as well. The use of collaborative assignments that engage student in project-based activities or problem-based activities tend to facilitate both cognitive and social presence. These assignments may require the use of synchronous communication tools in order to work through the tasks collaboratively. This session will focus on how you can create events that stimulate deeper learning.

Session Activity

  • Triggering Event Reflection Activity: Using YellowDig, participants will share a social media event that went viral and how they, as online instructors, can use such events to engage their students with the course content and other peers in similar ways.
  • Peer Review Assignment Activity: Participants will develop an assignment for their course that consists of a peer review component. Participants will share the description of the assignment as well as clear instructions for their students as to how to engage in this activity and why it is beneficial to their own learning with other participants in the course via the discussion board. Participants will be encouraged to comment and provide constructive critique on each others posts. Clear guidelines and expectations will be provided to participants for this assignment.