Exploring the Evolution of Social Presence through Technology: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

Many advances in technology have provided us with unique opportunities to engage students and connect them in meaningful ways to their peers and the course content.  In this session, we will explore how to leverage technology to ensure student engagement and presence through collaboration, social media platforms, creative and multimedia feedback, and unique conversational tools.  


Dr Sean Nufer is the Director of Teaching and Learning at TCS Education System, and an associate adjunct professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Pacific Oaks College.

Extended Abstract

Our classrooms are comprised of communities of learners.  Our social interactions play an important role in the process of knowledge acquisition and retention, as well as cognitive development.  It is often a challenge in education to provide "presence" within the classroom - especially in an online environment.  Social media and collaborative technologies allow us to support teaching and learning and ensure cognitive development through establishing channels and nurturing communities of connectedness.  

This session will examine the growth and progression of technology as a tool for establishing social presence within the classroom, and we will discuss current best practices and innovative ways to incorporate social learning into discussions, assignments, and content pages within an LMS in order to add a collaborative and interactive element to typical course offerings.  

One of the channels of community we will assess in this session is social media.  Both traditional and non-traditional students are using social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Within education there is often a disconnect between popular social media interfaces and our educational platforms.  Yet social media networks are common communication platforms, used by students to keep track of friends and family, industry updates, news, politics, etc.  We will explore how we can effective use social media in education, reviewing examples, guidelines, and considerations.

This session will include an intermittent interactive Kahoot! game with a leaderboard and prizes to ensure active audience engagement (and make sure everyone is having fun).