Instructional Immediacy in Online Faculty Experiences

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The Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning




The main purpose of this study was to explore best practice strategies in online instruction that effectively reduce perceptions of transactional or felt-psychological distance, and, in turn, promote socially and humanely rich online learning communities in higher education. From this perspective, this study adopted the construct of “instructional immediacy” from educational communications theory, and attempted to uncover applications of the construct in online teaching contexts. To better provide plausible techniques and strategies for online teaching practitioners, “instructional immediacy” was approached through rich narratives of the perspectives and experiences of online teaching practitioners as well as through narratives from students in these courses. Educationally meaningful strategies for enhancing instructional immediacy emerged from an analysis of instructors’ and students’ narratives. The patterns of strategies were categorized into four dimensions of online instruction: (1) affective interaction, (2) cognitive interaction, (3) technology adoption, and (4) course presentation and organization. This study opens the possibility of cultivating instructional immediacy in a text-based learning community which allows a promise for executing socially connected and engaging online instruction.