Establishing a positive online presence in your course can result in your students' having:

  1. a poor learning experience
  2. a somewhat valuable experience
  3. a meaningful and rich learning experience
  4. all of the above

Answer: 3. a meaningful and rich learning experience


Many students are enrolled in the courses at EP because of the expertise and experiences they can gain from the subject and the subject matter expert: you!

This invaluable combination of theoretical foundations and practical real world experience covers all areas of student satisfaction: why, what, and how.

Please view the following recording on effective strategies for establishing an online presence.

The slides for this presentation can be downloaded in PDF format.

To download please click the following link: Establish an Online Presence

As you can see the strategies explained in the video above are easy to create and easy to implement and your instructional designer is always there to provide assistance.

Five Effective Strategies

So lets look at the five effective strategies demonstrated in the previous recording and view examples from live online course at EP.

1. Introduction Email

As discussed in the video recording Establish an Online Presence, this is your first hello to your students and lets them know you are ready and excited to teach the course. It also provides helpful information about the course. This, in a sense, breaks the ice between you and your students and is the first step in getting to know each of your students throughout the course.

Below is an example introduction email that you can download and modify to meet your needs.

To download please click the following link: Online Student Welcome Email.doc

Another example of how you can break the ice with your students and provide an opportunity for them to get to know more about you and the course is by creating a short recording introducing the course to the students. This simple recording can be done using a webcam or screen recorder.

2. Instructor Biography

Humanizing the online learning environment increases the student's comfort level, and reduces the psychological distance between the instructors and students. (DuCharme-Hansen, Dupin-Bryant, 2005).

A very simple way to do this is to provide a personalized biography that can textually and graphically represent who you are and what you enjoy doing. This encourages the same behavior from the students, ultimately creating a more open and collaborative course.

Here is an example used by Dr. Michael Robert.

To download, please click the following link: Instructor Bio sample

3. Introduction to the Module

Just as we introduced the course to the students, it is also an effective strategy to introduce each module. Please find below an example by Dr. Justin Williams, an associate research professor at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.

4. Scheduling Regular Synchronous Office Hours

Office Hours should be considered students time. This may be the only opportunity they have to synchronously meet and discuss with peers and the instructor.

The number of students attending regular synchronous office hours is not the important part, providing the opportunity to your students is.

Office Hours are held in Zoom. Below is a guide for using Zoom to host meetings.

To download, click the following link: JHU Zoom Instructor Host Guide

5. Personalized language

Regardless of whether the course is face-to-face or online each student wants to be recognized as an individual rather than just another number in a group. Below are two examples of how language can be written in an online course:

Dr. Smith would like students to call his office number if a matter is urgent and he will return the call when available.

If a matter is urgent please call my office number and I will return your call when available.

The second example is more personal and lets the students know you are talking directly to them.


DuCharme-Hanson, R. and Dupin-Bryant, P. (2005). Course planning for online adult learners. Tech Trends