Using Simple Applications to Create Online Instructor Presence

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

Online instructors need to be intentional about crafting a sense of presence in their courses. Acquire quick and easy tools for your toolbox to successfully establish your presence in your online class. Various tools we will be exploring include, GroupMe, Doceri, Remind, Google Forms, Flubaroo and other beneficial apps.  


Presently, I work for Empire State College as the Director of Instructional Design. I strategically direct College wide instructional design policy and procedures to ensure courses are current and in-line with current research on best practices for online learning. I also coordinate and promote collaboration and fact finding of existing resources with other members of the College to identify gaps and opportunities and determine boundaries to increase efficiency and effectiveness. I am also an adjunct faculty member with the College, instructing a graduate course on Assistive Technology and Digital Tools. I also teach for The College of Saint Rose, a graduate course on Assistive Technology and Interactive Whiteboards and two undergraduate courses, Introduction to Computer Science and Educational Computing for the Computer Information Science program.

Additional Authors

Alena Rodick is an Interim Assistant Director of Instructional Design at SUNY Empire State College. She has been a Co-Pi and/or project member on four SUNY Innovative Instructional Technology Grants, including Career Brand Management for Everyone: Expanding Access to Career Development Learning by Launching an On-Demand, Competency-Based OPEN SUNY Specialization on Coursera; Increasing Access to Online, On-Demand, Competency-Based Nonprofit Management and Leadership Education; Metaliteracy Learning Pathways: Fostering Innovative Teaching Across SUNY; Increasing Access to Nonprofit Management and Leadership Education. While working on these projects, she has designed courses in various platforms, utilized different project management processes, and built learning artifacts with a wide range of tools. She has facilitated workshops and presented at the regional and national conferences and has a special interest in application of design thinking process and learning analytics in instructional design. She is also an adjunct faculty teaching an undergraduate course for The College of Saint Rose and Senior Networked Instructional Designer at Southern New Hampshire University. She holds BS degree in Business Administration from SUNY Albany and MS degree in Information Design and Technology from SUNYIT, and currently pursuing another MS degree in Data Analytics.

Extended Abstract

Why do we need to be concerned with instructor presence in an online course? In a face-to-face classroom, we don’t have to work too hard on this because we are physically there, our students see us and know we are physically in the room. How do we do this in the online environment?

In the article, “Presence in the Online Classroom” the author Rob Kelly discusses the importance for online instructors to actively and clearly engage with their students in their online classes, (Kelly, 2014). A lack of presence can have adverse consequences for learners, whereas an increased presence in online courses improves student retention and performance, (Jaggars, Edgecombe, & Stacey, 2013).

This session will provide a demo of these very simple, but effective tools, that improve both instructor and course presence. Participants will see feedback from students who benefited from these tools.


Jaggars, S. S., Edgecombe, N., & Stacey, G. W. (2013, April). Creating an Effective Online

Instructor Presence. New York, NY: Columbia University, Teachers College, Community College Research Center. Retrieved from

Kelly, R. (2014, January 7). Creating a sense of instructor presence in the online classroom.

Retrieved from