Presence and Positioning as Components of Online Instructor Persona

Fall 2007

Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Volume 40 Number 1  Fall 2007, p. 95-108.

Instructor persona in online discussion may set the tone for a variety of course outcomes. Instructors establish persona via both presence (amount of instructor posts) and position (interaction relative to those in the student role).

In this paper, three online classes were studied using positioning theory as a grounding framework to elicit ways in which instructors self-position as well as how their students position them, and the relative impact of these positions along with presence levels on persona development.

Findings demonstrate that both instructor activity levels and use of performative position statements likely impact student expectations, and that students are unlikely to engage in instructor positioning that falls outside the standard definition of the traditional instructor role unless doing so has been modeled by the instructor him/herself.

Updated: Feb. 10, 2008