Instructor Presence Series Part 5: Engagement and Facilitation

Instructor on the computer screen giving a video lecture Instructor on the computer screen giving a video lecture
By:  Jill Gomez     E-Campus Logo

Note: This article is the final installment of the “Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom” series.

Instructor Presence in Online Classrooms Part 5: Engagement and Facilitation

Engaging students and facilitating their learning experience in the online environment may seem more daunting than in a face-to-face setting, but it doesn’t have to be. It simply requires a different approach. Your online presence is essential to your students’ success as you assist them in navigating the course content and learning from it.

Virtual Presence

Just because you’re teaching a course online doesn’t mean that all interaction with students needs to be through written communication. Dust off your webcam and microphone and get to work!

  • Record yourself giving the instructions to assignments instead of writing them out.
  • Prepare your short and sweet 10-min video highlighting the key concepts and essential understandings.
  • Use the Canvas quiz capability to record questions via audio and video for students and require a video you’ve got a simulated conversation!

Discussion Board Engagement

Let’s move beyond the discussion board model that requires students to post and then respond to another student’s post. Oftentimes this model leads to students just saying “I agree” and not giving the topic another thought.

  • Promote student-student and student-instructor engagement by creating scaffolded discussion boards that require students to participate multiple times.
  • Model proper discussion contributions for your students.
  • Present follow-up questions and challenges so that they recognize that you are vested in the assignment.

Feedback Facilitation

One misconception about online courses is that students teach themselves the material, but giving encouragement and correction is a crucial aspect of instructor presence and student learning.

  • Vary the method of feedback that you offer students. You may choose one assignment per module, for example, to offer either individual or group feedback through video or audio.
  • Offer balanced feedback that includes both positive and constructive comments.
  • Provide consistent and timely feedback that gives students opportunities to reflect on their work and improve.


Pre-course planning goes a long way to ensure a strong course format, but it is imperative that you focus on how to stay visible through the facilitation of the course. We encourage you to check out these step-by-step ways to give the essential feedback that students need in order to continue providing excellent instructor presence throughout the course.

We've Got Your Back

If at any point you would like support or guidance while you are teaching a distance learning course, please connect with us!  We are here to help.