The reading by Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer (2001) on teaching presence helped me to see why reading other students’ blogs posts was important to my learning experience:
- it served as a model and a guideline when the course’s guidelines were insufficient or unclear (design and organization; direct instruction)
- it helped me to pinpoint or clarify particular ideas that I was developing (facilitating discourse)
- it helped to reinforce my interpretation of the material (facilitating discourse; direct instruction)
I think the reason that the blog posts contributed to teaching presence so much is that the teacher is absent in this course, so I sought the teaching presence contributions from other students. It worked well in this context because the other students are teachers as well. Not sure if it would be as effective in another type of course.
Interestingly, what I identified as something that could improve the blogs was better organization. This too is included in the teaching presence elements (design and organization).