Assessing Teaching Presence in Computer Conferences

- A Literature Review

Su-Tuan Lulee

Educational Technology Department

San Diego State University

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Teaching Presence

Content Analysis

Theoretical Framework


Unit of Analysis

System Dynamics Model





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According to the report from National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2002–03 12-month school year, about one-third of public school districts, an estimated 8,200 public schools, had students in the district enrolled in distance education courses. In addition, college-level, credit-granting distance education courses at either the undergraduate or graduate/first-professional level were offered by 55 percent of all 2-year and 4-year institutions. During the 2004-05, over thirty-five percent of 35-54 years old adults have taken distance education courses. With the growing number of courses offered online and degrees offered through the Internet, quality of online instruction attracts more and more concerns. How will learning outcomes be ensured and improved? How will effective communication be established through online discussion? How new knowledge and understandings construct through instructional scaffolding?


The advancement of online technologies now makes it possible for instructors to plan, implement, and support non-linear, interactive, learner-centered online courses. Electronic discussion board provides a nature framework for augment critical thinking in computer-mediated teaching. It provides a number of ways that teacher can use to develop cognitive and social skills, if teachers know how to present themselves effectively in online discussion. The question is, how well have online teachers ready for that?  Previous studies (Conrad, 2004) showed that online instructors have very little awareness of collaborative learning and often do not recognize the role of instructor in online learning environments. While new media have proved their potential, the evaluation of online teaching has not been well studied.


This review seeks to examine existing reports on assessing teaching presence on text-based computer conferencing, the framework they used and the indicators they developed. The ultimate goal is to learn about the weakness and strength of each framework and indicators for assessing teaching presence so that future studies could make a proper selection on research instrument.


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