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ERIC Number: EJ896241
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1812-9129
The Importance of Being Human: Instructors' Personal Presence in Distance Programs
Reupert, Andrea; Maybery, Darryl; Patrick, Kent; Chittleborough, Philip
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, v21 n1 p47-56 2009
Literature on the role of higher education distance instructors mostly focuses on their teaching role, involving tasks such as curriculum design, instruction, and facilitating student learning. What is missing is the role of the "person" of the instructor, defined as his or her personality, identity, integrity, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and values. The aim of this study was to ascertain whether distance students want a personal presence from their instructors, and if so, how an instructor's personal presence might impact on teaching and learning in the higher education sector. Qualitative analyses of 68 surveys and a focus group interview found that, while a minority of students report not wanting instructors to have a personal presence, most highlight the need for engaging, passionate, and understanding instructors who show these attributes through self disclosure, relationship building, humor, and individualized feedback. At the same time, instructors' personal qualities need to be mediated through learning. Various modes were identified that might encourage a personal mode of distance teaching, though the teaching medium did not appear to matter as much as having an instructor who, in the words of one participant, was "human."
International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A