Preservice Teachers’ Views of Instructor Presence in Online Courses

Aug. 01, 2012

Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Volume 28, No. 4, 2012, p. 139-145. 
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study had two purposes:
1. to collect information to guide the continuing development and
facilitation of a collection of online courses at the university where they are offered, and
2. to expand the professional literature on the topic of online instructor presence in the context of undergraduate-level, preservice teachers.
Specifically, the authors addressed to the following research question:
In online technology integration courses, what indicators of instructor presence do preservice teachers perceive as important?

The participants were 52 undergraduate education students enrolled in 100% online technology integration courses at a at a comprehensive university in the southeastern United States.
The researchers used a mixed-methods design and analyzed quantitative data, collected via an online survey.


The present study is a replication of a study by Sheridan and Kelly (2010), that focused almost
exclusively on graduate students as participants, whereas this study focuses on the perceptions of undergraduate preservice teachers. The results of the present study extend Sheridan and Kelly’s
findings to undergraduate, preservice teachers.


The findings reveal that participants in online education courses require timely responses, clear instructions, and instructors who design good courses and who are available to them.
The students in these courses are concerned that they receive clear instructions and that they receive timely feedback from an instructor who is available to them.
Also, the course must be designed in a way that is usable and realistic in terms of the time required to complete assignments.

The authors suggest that instructors could include a communication plan in their syllabi that explicitly describes the types and frequency of various communications that students can expect.
For instance, an instructor could indicate that a response to an e-mail messages can be expected within 24 hours and that graded work will be returned with feedback within one week of submission.
The point is that if students understand when to expect a response, they may be more satisfied with their online learning experiences.
Also, establishing a well-advertised schedule of your availability to students may make them more comfortable.


Sheridan, K., & Kelly, M. A. (2010). The indicators of instructor presence that are important to students in online courses. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(4). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot. org/vol6no4/sheridan_1210.htm

Updated: Aug. 19, 2015