Connecting & Interacting with Students: Letting Your Personality Shine Online

Concurrent Session 1

Brief Abstract

The online learning context, while accessible and flexible, can be isolating. In these contexts, it can be difficult to create a sense of community where individuals’ personalities are expressed and shared. This presentation explores ways faculty share their personality in their online classes and creating a space for student expression.


I have about 10 years of experiences within the higher education setting as an Educational Technology Consultant at the Faculty Technology Center at Louisiana State University. In my role I assist faculty with the seamless integration of technology into their teaching and research. Through my consulting activities I provide support in the identification and application of technologies that foster innovative instructional approaches. I am also a doctoral student in the Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership and Research at Louisiana State University. My research interests focus on the topics of teaching and learning, distance education, faculty development, international education, innovation, and technology.

Extended Abstract

While online learning provides students with accessibility, flexibility, and reflective interaction, it can also “create a sense of isolation, making it particularly difficult for a community of inquiry to thrive” (Borup et al., 2012, p. 195). In the online course, ‘presence’ is understood as the ability of people “to project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to other participants as ‘real people’” (Morrison, 2014; Garrison et al., 2000, p. 89). Swan (2002) reveals that there is a significant relationship between students’ interactions with an instructor in an online course and their satisfaction with their courses, and states “students who reported high levels of interaction with their instructors also reported higher levels of satisfaction with their courses and higher levels of learning from them” (p. 31).

Faculty can connect with students in ways that highlight their own distinct personality and develop an online space that allows students to also share and express their own personalities. The suggestions offered in this session come from faculty members and an educational consultant’s experience working and teaching in online courses. Examples include using videos, discussion forums, and other tools to facilitate strategies to build community in your course. During the presentation, the presenters will intentionally create a learning community in which attendees will be asked to share their own ideas and experiences with those that are in attendance.

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe why the incorporation of personality and community is critical to learning
  2. Identify strategies for creating community in online classroom environment
  3. Apply strategies for showcasing instructors’ personality


Borup, J., West, R. E., & Graham, C. R. (2012). Improving online social presence through asynchronous video. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(3), 195-203.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education model. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Morrison, D. (September 29, 2014). How to Develop a Sense of Presence in Online and F2F Courses with Social Media. Retrieved from

Swan, K. (2002). Building communities in online courses: The importance of interaction. Education, Communication & Information, 2(1), 23- 49.