This excerpt follows sections on the distance education context and learning theory related to the social presence of online learning. The author addresses best practices related to social presence in online learning based on their experience. The author provides a few suggestions of what they consider to be next best practices.
In mentored online seminars, students complete reading assignments and/or view video lectures, post initial responses in a threaded discussion forum to a question from a faculty member, post additional responses in discussion with students and the faculty member, and complete other course-length assignments, such as papers and tests also administered online. It is best to give additional guidance regarding the threaded discussion forum. For instance, if lessons are to be completed weekly, students should be expected to make their initial postings early in the week so that there is plenty of time for “substantive” response later in the week.