Distance education, which includes the online environment as a key component, has gained popularity in recent decades. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many higher education providers worldwide to offer online education, and the benefits of this mode of delivery were quickly realised. Consequently, institutions have continued to offer courses online that were previously only available on campus. Online education provides several advantages for universities and students, including greater accessibility and flexibility, availability of teaching and learning resources, and (arguably) cost-effectiveness. Nonetheless, distance education poses unique challenges, including a lack of face-to-face interaction, which is essential for socialisation and building relationships with instructors and peers. Another challenge is reduced motivation among students, leading to low levels of engagement, procrastination, and a resulting poor performance. Additionally, ensuring academic integrity in an online environment can be challenging. However, by viewing education as a social experience and implementing strategies to foster interaction between students and instructors and among students themselves, many of these challenges can be effectively addressed. Specifically, this article explores the role of enhanced teaching presence in bridging the distance in online higher education and creating a more engaging and effective educational experience for students.
|Specialist publication||AIB Review|
|Publication status||Published - 11 Jul 2023|