Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

Teaching Tips & Links for SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING

Issue 25 - Teacher Presence

September 4, 2018

In this series of bulletins, we are drawing on Subject Experience Survey items to inspire our weekly topics.

This week’s focus comes from

Item 1: The teaching staff in this subject were helpful and approachable.

In last week's Teaching Tuesdays bulletin we presented an overview of the CSU Online Learning Model (OLM). This week's theme ties in with the Teacher Presence element of the OLM. We will be exploring all the elements of the OLM in more depth in coming months. However, the overlap with items in the Subject Experience Survey highlights the interactivity of many topics that we can explore when seeking to improve our teaching.

Implementing the CSU Value INCLUSIVE in your teaching.

In behaving inclusively we work collaboratively to develop and deliver solutions – we value new perspectives. An inclusive approach influences the way we all relate to each other and helps us all achieve our full potential collectively.

Do my students find me helpful and approachable?

Managing Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom

By: Dr Lawrence Ragan and Kimberley Eke

Source: https://www.magnapubs.com/magna-commons/?video=3214

(See below for instructions on how to access the CSU free subscription to this resource).

In this 58-minute interactive webinar, Ragan and Eke explore reasons for establishing teacher presence and approachability and provide practical examples and resources that you can use.

Reasons for establishing teacher presence - why it matters to online students

  1. Sense of isolation in online students.
  2. Students' primary link to the subject is the instructor.
  3. Students need to feel that someone is in control of the subject.
  4. Students desire to interact with an expert.

TIP 1: if using web-based apps for communication, choose those that include a small icon of you to keep your image in front of students. Twitter is one of the examples but the advice is to use technologies that are already familiar to you.

Ragan and Eke base their discussion on the first element of the:

Instructor Presence Framework

  1. PERSONA – Establishing your online “personality”. There is a clear comparison with walking into a classroom, so we need to be intentional in deciding how to do this.
  2. INSTRUCTIONAL – The process of “teaching” – guiding, facilitating, directing learning. Most online instructors feel comfortable with establishing this.
  3. SOCIAL – Student-student, student-instructor interactions outside of the content domain. These are elements of the OLM that will be explored in coming months.

TIP 2: Welcome video and weekly topical videos that include information about the lecturer (Answers the question, How do I represent myself as a human being?).

OR: Caricatures of the you that students can click on to hear your voice and energy.

Use the AVAIL mnemonic for Teacher Presence:

A – Active: Regularly participate in class activities.

V – Visible: “Leave evidence” of your visibleness.
A – Accessible: Be approachable and responsive to student enquiries – provide opportunities for students to interact with you.
I – Involved: Participate as a member of the learning experience – not all the time, but on a regular basis.
L – Leadership: Conduct “class management and operation” details – manage the event from the start of the class to the end of the class.

General principles for technology use:
  • Keep it simple.
  • Be intentional and selective.
  • Let technologies wash over you like a warm breeze - don't feel that you have to try them all, but sample them as you feel ready.

Categories of technology to use:

  • Community & Collaboration.
  • Communication & Feedback.
  • Content & Curation.

- for each of these, examples are provided of the type of app you can use. They are idea starters for which you can insert your own favourite apps, or seek help from your Educational Designer (SRS request) for CSU-supported software solutions.

Criteria to help you decide on which applications to use:

  • What is interesting to you? (Conversely, if you don’t like a particular app, don’t use it!)
  • Use something that you’re already using that is familiar to you.
  • How much time will you need to invest? Your time is valuable - where will be the return on your investment?
  • Talk to students about what they would like to do – e.g. they may like to interact on a social networking platform even if you don’t want to.
  • Talk to your colleagues about what techniques they are using.

TIP 3: Use a concept map to help students to keep connected to the content and subject structure – so studying the subject is not an “untethered” experience.

Further considerations:
  • Basic internet safety - don't be overly familiar with your own information and think about what you are asking students to sign up to if they need to create online accounts.
  • Your online presence is your main consideration here - ultimately it’s about you and not the students, so think carefully about how you involve students.
  • Accessibility - make content as available as possible for all students.

Presentation handouts, full transcripts and supplementary resources are available for download from the Magna Commons website if you don't have time to listen to the seminar.


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Our Twitter feed includes links to further hints, tips and resources in the broader field of teaching in higher education. https://twitter.com/TeachingTuesday

Link to: Folder with all previous issues of Teaching Tuesdays



1....Teaching support resources at CSU
2....Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching MOOC
3....CSU Professional Learning Calendar
4....Bonus CSU resource - Lynda.com
5....Magna Commons Subscription
6....Links to previous bulletins


1. Teaching support resources at CSU

You have access to a range of quality CSU resources to help you incorporate educational resources and techniques into your teaching. Check out the following:


2. Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching MOOC

Professional Development opportunity for all.

Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching is an

open access COURSE for the Australian Higher Education Sector.

This teaching induction course provides key introductory learning and teaching concepts and strategies for those who are in their first few years of university teaching. The self-paced course is comprised of 11expert-developed modules, and several specialty modules and resources.

For more information on how to enrol, please contact

Sheeja Samuel- email: ssamuel@csu.edu.au ph: +61 2 6051 9742, or

Kellie Smyth - email: ksmyth@csu.edu.au ph: +61 2 6272 6270

NOTE: Completion of this course will provide some credit and a pathway into the CSU Grad. Cert. in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education (GCLTHE). It can provide a basis for commencing preparation for Associate Fellowship (HEA).


3. CSU Professional Learning Calendar

Regular seminars on teaching-related topics are listed on the

CSU Professional Learning Calendar - accessed directly here

or from the Division of Learning and Teaching front page - accessed here

CSU Professional Learning Calendar:

Integrating Mixed Reality Pedagogy into Higher Education Zoom online session 5 September August 2018 at 12:00 pm OR

Weekly Drop In for Sessional Staff Adobe Connect session this week 7 September 2018 at 11:00 am


4. Bonus CSU resource - Lynda.com

All CSU students and staff members have access to Lynda.com, an online subscription library that teaches the latest business, creative and software skills through high-quality instructional videos.

A search for 'approachability' with a filter for Education and eLearning returned 251 results, not all of which are relevant. However, searching the list reveals useful resources that range from general teaching tips, to keynote lectures, to the specifics of various tools and applications for employing educational resources and techniques.

For example,

How to be approachable online (2m 21s) as part of the broader topic of Learning to be Approachable (0h 28m).

Teaching Technical Skills Through Video (43m 50s).


5. Magna Commons Subscription

All staff with a CSU email address have free access to our annual

CSU subscription to the Magna Commons series of online seminars

Presentation handouts, full transcripts and supplementary resources are available for download if you don't have time to listen to the seminar.

How to subscribe

Staff with a CSU email address can obtain the Magna Commons CSU subscription code from Ellen McIntyre elmcintyre@csu.edu.au


Upcoming Teaching Tuesdays issues...

Suggest topics that you would like for Teaching Tuesdays; or
Share your own teaching tips article.

Click on the Green Contact Ellen McIntyre button (below, or at the top of the bulletin) to offer your suggestions.

6. Links to previous bulletins

Folder with all previous issues.

Issue 1 Group Work; Issue 2 Engagement; Issue 3 Engagement;

Issue 4 Academic Integrity; Issue 5 Feedback; Issue 6 Feedback;

Issue 7 Active Engagement; Issue 8 Building on Prior Learning;

Issue 9 Student Diversity; Issue 10 Learning Outcomes;

Issue 11 Deep Learning; Issue 12 The Teaching-Research Nexus;

Issue 13 Improving Student Learning; Issue 14 Planning for Effective Student Learning;
Issue 15 Feedback for Teaching; Issue 16 Gamification;
Issue 17 Activities for Effective Learning; Issue 18 Dialogic Feedback;

Issue 19 Student Evaluation; Issue 20 Enhancing Learning;
Issue 21 Rationale for Assessment; Issue 22 Motivating Learning; Issue 23 Peer Learning;
Issue 24 Improving Online Learning and Teaching

FoBJBS Newsletter: BJBS-News

FoA&E Newsletter: NeXus

7. Subscribe

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