e-ISSN: 1309-517X
Exploring the impact of instructor social presence on student engagement in online higher education

Naureen Shehzad 1, Tendai Charles 2 *

CONT ED TECHNOLOGY, Volume 15, Issue 4, Article No: ep484

Submitted: 24 May 2023, Published Online: 20 October 2023

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Digital pedagogies have impacted traditional approaches towards teaching and as this phenomenon continues to expand, a clearer understanding of the role of instructors’ social presence in online learning environments is imperative. Using a sequential explanatory mixed-methods design, this study investigates instructor social presence and its impact on student engagement at higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates. The study includes data collected through a survey, which was distributed amongst faculty members (n=30), followed by several in-depth interviews. The study explores the relationship between constructs of instructor social presence and student engagement. Findings suggest that instructor social presence positively influences student engagement and attrition. The study also identifies different strategies and barriers instructors face in establishing their online social presence. The study has practical implications for stakeholders and curriculum designers seeking to improve and enhance the learning outcomes in online education.



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