Volume 16, Issue 1, January 2019

Student Questions: A Path to Engagement and Social Presence in the Online Classroom

 Sherion H. Jackson, Grand Canyon University


Within the vast search for ways to enhance the online classroom learning environment and to engage students fully, researchers often turn to discussions concerning instructor-student interactions that take place daily in the online classroom. Although students interact with other students and with the content, it is the student-instructor interaction and connection that appears to support the adult student’s need to connect with the course content in a personal manner. This article incorporates the Community of Inquiry (COI) perspective to explore the literature for ways in which students’ questions and an instructor’s artful replies to those questions regarding course clarification can enhance learning and improve social presence. This article also includes strategies and specific information taken from experience and themes in the review of literature that instructors can directly utilize to develop a stronger sense of interaction and connectivity with students resulting in enhanced social presence within the online classroom.


online education, student engagement, student questions, teaching online, adult learners, social presence, instructor strategies

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