Reincarnation: Breathe Life into A Dead Online Course Using Video

Engaging students in online courses happens by design, not by chance.  The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model asserts that social presence is not only important (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000), but that “there are things the instructor can do to help design for and elicit social presence through teaching presence” (Lowenthal & Mulder, 2017). Using both synchronous and asynchronous video can add both teaching presence and social presence to an online course by providing the human element.

Asynchronous Video

Video recordings can be used to create teaching presence when the instructor embeds a “Welcome to the Course” or “Introduction to Unit Two” video that introduces the online students to the instructor, course or unit.  These videos create teaching presence because “it allows the instructor to speak in a conversational tone, share emotion in their voice and create a sense of closeness” (Lowenthal & Mulder, 2017). Another way of establishing teacher presence is to give feedback on assignments using video recordings created from screen-casting tools like Tegrity.


Video recordings can be used to create social presence by asking the students to create a video introducing themselves or to upload a video of their presentation. Students can easily do this in Tegrity or by loading their video into YouTube, which can be embedded into Blackboard using the Mashup tool.

Synchronous Video

Video conferencing is an even better way to create teaching presence because the instructor can converse with students in real time.  “It is a less encumbered way to convey ideas, emotion, sense of humor, and expectations” (Finkelstein, 2006). Some instructors will require online students to schedule a time for a “touch base” meeting using a web-conference tool, such as Collaborate, Blue Jeans, or Zoom.

Video conferencing can be used to create social presence by asking online students to work on a group assignment.  Students can meet with their groups remotely using Collaborate within Blackboard.  Instructors can add the Collaborate link to the left menu and set up a session that allows students to join the meeting as moderators, which allows them to share their screen when working on assignments.

Using video technologies will not only create teaching and social presence, which engages students in online environments, but it will also prepares students to use these technologies in their professional careers.

~Written by Jackie Hughes, Coordinator of Instructional Technology


Finkelstein, J. (2006). Learning in real time: Synchronous teaching and learning online (Vol. 5). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical Inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Lowenthal, P., Mulder, D. (2017). Social Presence and Communication Technologies: Tales of Trial and Error. Social presence in online learning: Multiple perspectives on practice and research,  Stylus Publishing, LLC., 27-44.

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