In this new era of hybrid, or virtual learning, we see others most often via Zoom every day for lectures, meetings, skills, simulation and, yes, sometimes even clinical. I saw a meme on Facebook recently that said class time now feels less like higher education and more like a seance “Bobby, are you here among us?”. Students are having many new distractions such as internet connection issues, computer problems and experiencing getting a degree while homeschooling their children. As nurse educators, we need additional time with our students during this time but instead we find ourselves at more of a distance from them than ever before.
Instructor presence is a term that has been popular in online learning. Ladyshewsky (2013) described instructor presence as having three facets: 1) social presence, 2) cognitive presence and 3) teaching presence. This “presence” was not something missing from our face-to-face classes because we saw our students all of the time and they saw each other. Instructor presence is missing in our virtual and hybrid learning experiences we are facing today due to Covid-19 by its very nature of delivery. Let me challenge you to implement instructor presence today in the three ways mentioned below so you can be there when you can’t be.