Thursday, December 6, 2018

Working with Saudi Arabian Students

Let me share a strategy that I have used in the past to include students that are considered "quiet students":

First, we need to expect that there will always be a "variability" in the composition of students in the online classroom that includes the quiet students. Once identified, it is important that we interact differently with them, figuring out the reasons they don't respond as scheduled, which can be very challenging.

Second, we don't want to put pressure by either taking points away or writing persistent messages that can push them back further into not participating at all.

So what to do?

I created a discussion board to include only "quiet" students where they can see that they can make mistakes, express opinions, or try different things without feeling excluded. This tactic works also very well when the student might feel that they can be "bullied" for not expressing him/herself correctly or adequately specially in English.
Once they gain confidence and can participate without any fear; they will become better and more productive participants.

·       Higher respect for authority, including authority of the instructor, and some reluctance to engage in Socratic dialogue with both the faculty member and other enrolled students.
·       Influence of societal tension between traditionalists and reformers, which also creates a conflict with the western norms of higher education. 
·       Interest in professional education with an occupational outcome, rather than in liberal arts-based education common to many U.S. institutions and programs.

A unique characteristics related to female students, then, may be:

·     As Batrawy (2013) noted, different cultural norms in the interaction between male faculty and female students.

My strategies for addressing these issues would revolve around culturally competent teaching, in which I address issues relevant to the students professional education and model professionalism in my interactions with them. I am an economist, and my goal is to help students understand the impact of the global economy on them professionally.  I can also engage in different models of teaching which rely less on Socratic dialogue in the classroom and more on high-quality feedback provided on students’ deliverables. I do expect that the strategies used in teaching adult learners (e.g., Malcolm Knowles’ andragogy theory) will still be relevant and effective in the SEU classroom.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Business Strategy Overview

It seems the way that management policy and strategy is handled is no different than how we conduct business and handle problems in the military. The only difference is location and scale. Otherwise methods can transition rather well.
Strategy is just another way to say problem solving. Just a bit more fancy of a term, but the go hand in hand. Leaders, managers etc must be able to have that drive and be able to conceptualize the target so that they can smoothly move forward. You need a vision, a purpose in which drives you and motivates those around you to have a shared purpose to accelerate each individuals motivation to succeed. With a team determined to succeed and an understanding of what it is that they are moving towards.  You will be able to carry that motivation into a competitive edge. With the strategy being led by a confident leader who is influencing not only management but the personnel beneath them, purpose motivation and direction will follow.
In order to formulate your business strategy you need to be able to set and evaluate the purpose of the organizational vision, mission, purpose, philosophy. To do this you need to be able to break down the questions in which are needed to solve the problems that you are needing to answer so that you may tackle them head on. First thing you must do is Identify the problem: find the root of what you are looking for and be precise. You need to ask yourself a series of questions looking for answers in how competitors for success or failure. Questions similar to: who is affected, what is affected, when did it occur, where is the problem and why did it occur? From there you need to identify the facts and assumptions.  You want to do this to identify the scope of your problem. Assumptions are a necessary evil to provoke thought but you want to assume as little as necessary. This is where you want to Generate Alternatives. You will not be able to identify the best strategy going forward if you do not consider several alternatives. Best way to be conducted is via a brainstorming session. Next you analyze those alternatives. You need to ensure that the alternatives considered meet your screening and evaluation criteria. If you have alternatives but they do not meet the requirements that you laid out prior to then you must move on to the next one until your points meet. Here you are comparing your alternatives. Here you are evaluating each alternatives cost and how they benefit towards success. It is key that while conducting this that you look at both short and long term. After all the criteria is analyzed with each option properly weighed, you need to make and execute your decision. After it is all said and done assessment is required.
The best management strategy starts with the subordinates understanding  of the organizations vision, mission, purpose, philosophy, and goals of the business. The best way to lead your personnel forward is make sure they have a full understanding of what the organization has in mind. When you do this, the personnel feel that they are more than just a body, they feel as if they are an important member of a team. When each member has that same feeling and a shared understanding on what it takes to move forward so that they don't feel as if their work is for nothing. If done properly you will have a highly motivated staff willing to help the progress continue forward.
Pros and Cons are a part of perspective which can be assessed at anytime within a process but is typically assessed a t a mid or end point to evaluate what worked and what did not work within the strategy and how you are going to continue or improve upon. These not only pertain to the consumer but the employee as well. The employee can see a well driven, well oiled machine that can't be stopped. The con within it could be that the employee sees more micromanagement from the top and that the vision isn't quite laid out as the tier would dictate. The consumer can see a great product that fits their needs. Another consumer can feel it is to different or bold in which they feel that they are not the intended target and they are being left out.
Long, J., Holmes, C., & Gerecht, M. (2017, August 28). The 7 Steps in Problem Solving: Ideas for Army Leaders. Retrieved from
Leonard, K. (2018, June 29). Pros & Cons of Differentiation Strategy. Retrieved from

KaufmanA, F. W., & Walleck, S. (2014, August 01). Strategic Management for C

Monday, September 10, 2018

Free Management Resources

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Lead Confidently When You Aren’t Feeling Confident

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Employee and Organizational Alignment

 Organizations have personalities too

Employees are a significant part of any organization. As a result, they make part of most organizational aspects and affect the achievement of its goals as well. In other words, the term “organizational personality” is used to define what the members are as an organization. For a firm’s personality to be functional, it should be able to satisfy all the three aspects. Employees tend to determine the progress of most organizational activities, an aspect that gives them sufficient power to determine the performance of both organizational processes and the successful implementation of developed strategies. Similarly, employee attitudes and perceptions can be a defining factor of the organization’s ability to achieve employee participation in change processes.

In order to achieve the desired functionality, a firm should make sure that an equilibrium between how its employees perceive themselves and what the organizations consider itself is essential. This cultural equilibrium can enable the organization to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. To ensure continuity between the culture and strategic goals and objectives, employee input is the key ingredient in achieving synergy at all levels of the strategic hierarchy. As a result, the alignment of employees and organizational personality becomes one of the most crucial elements of an organization. Similarly, employee competency can have a major impact on the functionality of a firm. As a result, the workforce tends to determine the firm’s performance in both everyday processes and in the implementation of key improvement strategies.

i.               Do organizations incorporate employee involvement, leadership style, and employee motivation to align employee and organizational persona;ity?
ii.             What are the key aspects of organizational personality that affect the ability to achieve employee happiness?
By conducting this study, it will be possible to personality the ways in which employee and organizational alignment can be achieved. In so doing, the study will provide useful information to enable firms to achieve the alignment of employee and organizational personality. Further, the study identifies the ways in which the alignment of employee and organizational personality can affect the ability of the organization to develop and implement strategies. In so doing, the research will be of much help to firms seeking implement improvement strategies. Considering its major areas of focus, the study will be a key tool for achieving the desired organizational performance and successful implementation of strategies through the use of employee and organizational alignment.
The goal of the research was to establish the alignment of employee and organizational personality and how it influences the ability of a firm to develop as well as implement strategies. This study sought to address the association between employee involvement, leadership style, and employee motivation to understand the measures taken by organizations to enhance the effectiveness of strategy development and implantation. In addition, examining the alignment of employee and organizational personality created an understanding of how it is applied in enhancing strategy development and implementation.
The purpose of this study was to define how employee and organizational personality can be aligned to enhance organizational processes such as strategy development and implementation. To achieve its purpose, the study incorporates various assumptions. The first assumption is that the members of an organization selected for the study will have the required understanding of the personality of the organization as well as their own based on how they associate with the firm. The study assumed that the selected participants understood what organizational personality involved. Second, the researchers assumed that all research participants selected from the organization were exposed to strategy development and implementation processes and possesses the required understanding of how they are achieved across the firm. In so doing, all participants were assumed to have the ability to respond accurately to research questions. The third assumption help by the study was that other factors that could determine the effective development and implementation of strategies at the organization were expendable. Following the assumption, it was possible that the study was ignoring major elements or the organization that it could focus to improve the strategy development and implementation process.
Besides assumptions, the study had limitations that need to be considered when making conclusions from the obtained results. First of all, the study incorporated a qualitative research design that did not provide for the collection or analysis of data to facilitate the causal factors existing in relationships. In so doing, the study does not provide for the drawing of causal inferences relating to the research topic. Additionally, the study incorporates the use of a case study research method, which can create rigorous protocol deficiency, timeline issues, ability to generalize research outcomes, and creates a disregard for quality assurance. Additionally, the study only involves the collection of data from one organization, an aspect that challenges the applicability of the study results to other types of firms since organizations are defined by distinct characteristics that create diverse personalities for each, it would be difficult to apply findings associated with one type of organization to different organizations.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Don’t Let a Promotion Hurt Your Work Friendships

It’s good to have friends at work, but those relationships can get complicated. If you’ve been promoted above your friends, and people who used to be peers are now your direct reports, you might feel unsure of how to act toward them. You can reduce any strain on your friendships by being open and honest. Talk to your friends about the stresses and responsibilities of the new position. You may think that what you’re dealing with is obvious, but that’s probably not the case. Explain the tensions you feel between valuing your friends and, for example, having to evaluate them or assign them work. Discuss how to strike a balance, whether it’s avoiding work-related topics when you’re socializing or agreeing to keep each other in the loop (when you can) about what’s going on. You don’t have to lose your friends when you’re promoted — but you do need to be careful in how you interact.


Adapted from “Why Work Friendships Go Awry, and How to Prevent It,” by Art Markman

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Do You Retain Enough of What You Read?

We’re consuming more information than ever before — but retaining all that knowledge is another story. If you find yourself struggling to use what you read (or even just remember it), you probably aren’t learning productively. To be a more efficient learner, try three things. First, focus your reading on a single topic for several months. The deeper you go into a subject, the stronger a foundation you’ll have for learning about it in the future. Second, regularly synthesize what you have learned. When you finish reading something, ask yourself, “What are the key takeaways here?” If you can’t explain an idea to yourself, you probably didn’t learn it very well. And third, take occasional breaks from consuming new information. Reflecting on what you’ve read in the past is an important part of processing it — and constantly taking in new information can interfere with that. Give yourself time to review, consider, and apply what you’ve already read.
Adapted from “Become a More Productive Learner,” by Matt Plummer and Jo Wilson

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Doing Business Globally

Working in another country can be a fun and challenging experience. If you had to choose one country to live in other than the US, where would it be? What American companies are located there?
If I had to choose a country other than the USA to live in, I would choose Israel. As enticing as it is to experience new and exciting places, if the goal is to work there and create your livelihood in a different country, there can be many challenges. When one is not familiar with the language and culture it is hard to find a job, and to find a comfort level. I know that my familiarity with Israel as well as my knowledge of the language and the culture, as well as a support system of family would allow me an easy absorption in the country. 

Whereas once it was difficult to find American products and companies available in Israel, I have seen it grow over the years. As in most places you can now find McDonalds in Israel. I know that Intel has a company in Israel. I also know that when I went shopping in the bazaars on my past visits, I would find shirts and undergarments made for Gap and Victoria’s Secret that were made in Israel for sale for a quarter of the price of what I would pay locally for the product. 

What products have you bought lately that were made in a different country? What countries produced them? Did you have any difficulty accepting the fact that the product came from there? Did you have difficulty with the directions or the follow-up service? What does that tell you about global marketing and global business?

I recently needed to purchase a car. I lot of thought and research went into this purchase, as it is a large purchase for me. Initially I really wanted to support the American auto industry and looked at my options closely. I ended up buying a Toyota Corolla.  Toyota is a Japanese company. I am unsure where our car was produced as they have many factories worldwide manufacturing their vehicles. I did spend time discussing the pros and cons. Toyota was able to give me a fair price with an excellent payment plan with little to no interest of the vehicle. As much as idealistically I try and buy local whenever possible, personal family finances needed to come into play for this item. In the end I had no qualms about purchasing the Toyota. The Toyota is known to be a reliable car, needing very little repairs and getting good gas mileage. All instructions and follow up have been very easy. They are very equipped to handle their American market, and they do so quite well. This purchase tells me that the global market and global business, at least this particular business, is functioning well and has the ability to meet the needs of the American market.  

Campbell’s Soup Company Business Structure

Campbell’s Soup Company is a corporation that grew from a firm started in 1869. Originally owned by two men, it expanded and renamed itself Campbell  Soup Company following the popularity of their condensed soup line in 1922 (CSC Brands L.P., 2012, para. 1). The success opened up to doorway to national and eventual global expansion {Was it the incorporation? Was it originally  partnership?}  Today, Campbell’s is the “world’s leading soup maker and manufacturer of high-quality branded foods” (para. 2).
Business Structure:
The incorporation of this business has opened the door for investment through public trading, and given the company a perpetual lifespan that has fostered a long term plan for survival via domination of the global soup market. {need more info on type of corporation, and the benefits it has}
A corporation also offers the advantage of limiting the liability of owners—which insulates investors from unfortunate circumstances beyond their investment.  {Compared to Firm which may have been a partnership?} As a player in global food affairs in more than 120 countries, Campbell’s is sure to bear massive responsibility. Accidentally producing a few cans of “Creamer of E. Coli” would prove devastating.  Such liabilities could easily crush a sole proprietor or wipe out even a rotund partnership. 
At this point I am having problems nailing down exacts about the structures inside the business. I know they have a Board of Directors, and a few committees under them, but I still need to do more research on the company. They claim that their “$8 billion portfolio is highly focused three core areas: simple foods, baked snacks, and healthy beverages” through several noted brand names (CSCB, 2012, para. 2). This makes the company relatively flat, but very expansive. According to their website, they employ 18,000 people in 21 countries (para. 3).
{They may be into some franchising and contract manufacturing on foreign soil. I need to find out these things. If they do it definitely is worth noting how these contracts are controlled.}
Economic Impact:
Campbell’s is a business that caters to hunger, so there will always be a theoretical demand for their product, and global expansion allows them to reach a larger market of people. People who like to eat and drink.
Their product is relatively cheap, and readily available every time I am at a grocery store. I believe the relatively low price of the product they sell is a key factor for their success. A can of soup is approximately one meal for one person and it costs about one dollar. It is a very economical proposal in a world where a meal for five dollars is considered inexpensive.
{Need to find out about fiscal policy}
{They may have a strong global impact on world hunger issues. I need to find charity information about them.}

Target Corporation Business Structure

Business Structure
Target is a corporation with Gregg Steinhafel as their CEO and a Board of Directors representing the shareholders. Their corporate offices are based in Minneapolis Minnesota and they have stores located in every state except Vermont. They also have stores located in India and Australia and have most recently opened four new stores in Canada.
Targets success is maintained by their strong leadership team and great guest service. Leadership begins at the head office where Group leaders are appointed and supported by business partners. Beneath the group leaders are the District Team Leaders who also have a team of Business Partners to help maintain a given district of stores. At the store level is the STL or Store Team Leader who controls every aspect of the store operation as if it were his/her own business. The STL reports to the DTL and has a team of Executives or ETL’s to support him/her. Each Executive is put in charge of a particular area of the store and typically has one or two Team Leads or Managers to assist in delegated duties. Each Team Leader will then directly over see the Team members in the execution of the daily duties.  Teams are broken down by responsibilities and range from Pricing to Logistics. All play a key role in the success of each store and the company as a whole.
Target Corporation (simply known as Target) is an American retailing company that was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1902 as the Dayton Dry Goods Company. In 1962, the company opened its first Target store in nearby Roseville. Target grew and eventually became the largest division of Dayton Hudson Corporation, culminating in the company changing its name to Target Corporation in 2000. As of May 2010, the company has opened stores in every state except Vermont, operating as Target or SuperTarget.

Target is the second largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart.[6][7] The company is ranked at number 30 on the Fortune 500 as of 2010, and is a component of the Standard & Poor's 500 index. The company licenses its bullseye trademark to Wesfarmers, owners of the separate Target Australia chain.

On January 13, 2011, Target announced its expansion into Canada. Target will operate 100 to 150 stores in Canada by 2013, through its purchase of leaseholds from the Canadian chain Zellers.
Economic Impact:

Supply and demand play a significant role in any business, but especially so when you’re talking about a discount retailer such as Target. Obviously the economy will always dictate the amount of money a consumer can spend on tangible items, but its consistently low prices on non-tangible products that keeps guests coming back again and again. It’s because of the unique form of importing Target uses that keeps the shelves in over 1,600 locations full.  Target can often create its own demand simply by providing low prices and using clever marketing to drive sales.

Instructor Immediacy is at The Heart of Online Instruction

There should be no doubt that students are attracted to teachers that demonstrate a warm and inviting communication demeanor as they strive to create an environment that is conducive to learning.  In fact, there is a mounting body of evidence that supports the premise that affirmative communication behaviors exhibited by instructors are central to successful learning outcomes.  Previous studies widely document how enhanced communication between instructors and students can serve to promote affective and cognitive learning in a variety of instructional environments.  A key instructional competency that has gained increasing attention over the past five decades is that of immediacy.  Immediacy, as it was first examined by Albert Mehrabian (1968) through his work in the field of communication theory, comprises those “behaviors which reduce physical and psychological distance between interactants” (p. 43).  While the face-to-face experience of a conventional on-ground classroom might very well provide increased opportunities to exhibit immediacy through direct presence with students, dedicated teachers in online learning environment can also employ tactics to cause immediacy within the virtual classroom.  The purpose of this paper will be to connect some of the findings from previous investigations pertaining to instructor immediacy with practical techniques and strategies intended to yield more immediate behavior within the online learning experience. 
Distance Learning Communication
This review begins with the assumption that educators universally recognize that a deeper level of knowledge can be constructed through learner inquiry (as compared to rote memorization), and that effective communication can have a significant impact on the success of any learning experience.  When communication between students and their teacher is negligible, the potential for gain realized from a meaningful exchange is therefore compromised.  To further facilitate learning inquiry, instructors need to be widely available to answer questions and also to orchestrate greater discourse between participants within the learning community.  While the importance of communication in the classroom might be clearly apparent, despite the mode of delivery (face to face, online or hybrid), the regularly alleged confines of communication indicative of geographically separated participants has been a primary concern since the earlier generations of distance education. 
Correspondence courses dating back to the 1800’s did allow for interaction between learners and instructors, albeit with a significant delay in the exchange of messages.  Many years later, the succeeding generation of videoconferencing clearly made it possible for learners and instructors to intermingle in real-time, while also facilitating increased learner to learner interaction between multiple sites.  Regretfully, the expense of the required equipment very well might have made this means of distance education too costly for mainstream use.  Fortunately, the emergence of the Internet made it possible for an even higher degree of interaction within a more cost-effective learning environment.
The advent of online learning provided an avenue that ultimately diminished previous concerns of the timeliness of contact, and served to establish opportunities for greater interaction and collaboration.  In terms of the newly emerging interaction via Internet, teachers could now interface with the individual student (or the class as a whole) more effectively compared to the past endeavors, when distance learning technologies mainly consisted of correspondence, radio, or television.  This evolution has not only been advanced by the innumerable opportunities made available through the developing online environment, but also by the belief that high levels of interaction (in particular those which promote social engagement) can have positive effects on the overall learning experience.

The Instructional Immediacy Construct
The construct of immediacy was defined by Mehrabian (1967) as an affective expression of emotional attachment, feelings of liking and the degree of perceived physical and/or psychological closeness between people.  Immediacy refers to communication behaviors based on the principle that individuals tend to approach people or situations that they like, and avoid people or situations they dislike.  In a subsequent writing, Mehrabian (1971) expanded on this premise by adding:
In response to a remark that appeals to us, we may 'approach' by asking questions or leaning forward.  In response to discussion we find uninteresting or objectionable, we may 'avoid' by remaining silent and leaning back, farther away from the speaker...Immediacy behaviors involve an increase in the sensory stimulation between two persons.  When we stand close to someone or talk to him [sic] a great deal more stimulation and information are exchanged than if we were to stand farther away or remain silent (pp. 2-4).

Ensuing studies in the academic field determined that instructors can convey immediacy verbally, or non-verbally.  Verbal components of the construct include addressing students by name, offering personal examples, interjecting humor, asking questions, initiating conversations with students, praising student work, encouraging student opinions, and inclusiveness suggested by word choice such as the use of “we” instead of “I’ or “you” (Gorham, 1988).  Grammatical and lexical measures that indicate affection, inclusion, and involvement also reflect verbal immediacy (Wiener & Mehrabian, 1968).  

Nonverbal components include physical cues such as eye contact, gestures, vocal and facial expressiveness, body positioning, movement, and proximity (Andersen, 1979).   Needless to say, in the online classroom environment where nonverbal cues might be relatively absent, the construct is not as forthright or necessarily easy to exhibit.

Generally viewed as a faculty member’s affability with their students, behaviors of immediacy are those that enhance closeness to, and interaction with, others because they reduce psychological and or physical distance between communicators, therefore increasing the overall sensory stimulation and arousal, and also promoting liking (Mehrabian, 1971).  Mehrabian’s immediacy theory runs parallel to that of Moore’s (1989) theory of transactional distance, as well as Holmberg’s (1986) theory of guided didactic conversation in that all three speak to the significance of communication and interaction when learning at a distance.  Moore’s (1989) theory examined the concept of how transactional distance can result in a sense of psychological separation due to a lack of communication between a geographically separated instructor and student.  Holmberg’s (1986) theory of guided didactic conversation focused on the role of interaction between the teacher and students in distance learning, emphasizing the need for dialogue between the participants to bring about strong rapport, a feeling of belonging, and a sense of empathy.  But what practical means do online teachers have at their disposal to create relationships based on behaviors of immediacy which, in turn, will heighten learning outcomes?

         Since immediacy in online delivery infers the presence of a dynamic communication process between remotely located participants, shouldn’t a planned and concerted effort for making the communication process within the online classroom even more affective result in elevated learning and teaching effectiveness and satisfaction?  In response, the task of understanding the various means by which verbal and non-verbal expression can successfully leverage the feeling of diminished distances between online participants presents both challenges and prospects for the online practitioner.

Instructional Immediacy in the Online Classroom
Interaction is at the heart of the learning experience and is widely cited as a defining characteristic of successful learning in both traditional and the online learning environments (Picciano, 2002; Swan, 2002; Wanstreet, 2006).  However, as Eastmond (1995) asserted, computer-mediated communication is not inherently interactive.  Rather, it is dependent on factors including the frequency, timeliness, and nature of the messages that are posted.  With this in mind, instructional immediacy within the online classroom was described by Baker and Woods (2004) to be the “pedagogical and administrative actions an instructor takes throughout an online course to increase the students’ sense of human interaction, instructor presence, caring, and connectedness” (p.135).  Such a focus requires online instructors to distinguish between the mere presence of communication to a more genuine interpersonal and contextual interaction as they seek to improve the online educational experience.  

There are a variety of practical approaches for doing so, and the list of such opportunities will only expand as technology in the online classroom continues to advance.  With the aforementioned caveats noted, a list of practical immediacy-producing instructional strategies can be advanced toward what has been found to influence the online learning process, inclusive of the experiences of this author. 

 Initiate and maintain on-going contact – be proactive in communication with students through weekly group announcements, personal emails, and individual contact (as warranted) as well as demonstrating a high presence in the online classroom.  Establish contact with each enrolled student during the first days of the term, whether it be via in-course email or external personal email.  Highlight a sincere personal interest in the learner’s success and emphasize an unfettered availability for student contact. 
·      Promptly respond to student needs throughout the term – set a personal goal for achieving a communication response time of not less than 8 hours.  Keep track of student progress, redirect off-task students, and gently remind students of missed tasks.
·      Facilitate live sessions - extend opportunities for direct communication with students through synchronous meetings using seminars, instant messaging, Web meeting applications, or phone.
·      Adapt communication to various learning styles - Create technology-enhanced snippets that guide students through the learning process, detailing what is expected, and using available media to provide the feeling of direct instruction and a collective ownership of the course.
o   Personalized weekly announcements prior to the beginning of the week
o   Media clips to engage student attention
o   Individualized assignment feedback
o   Optional voice over IP meetings
·      Create channels for personalization - Provide social-emotional cues by extending routine messages that represent personality and self-image. Provide individualized feedback on all student work.
·      Generate impetus through communication -  Demonstrate a high presence through continuous and regular opportunities for interaction (such as in discussion activity)
o   Always address students by name
o   Demonstrate a personal interest in each student
o   Ask a lot of questions
o   Use personal examples and encourage learners to share their own experiences
o   Praise student work
o   Offer constructive criticism
o   Inspire students to express their own relevant opinions

In short, the more that an instructor can do to lend a caring and supportive approach to the online classroom, the more that learner will profit from an online learning experience.  Such interactions are not all that challenging to construct, but faculty must take the initiative for doing so. While it may seem that the strides for creating a relationally rich learning environment might fall on the instructor, one would be remiss to overlook the investment from the entire course-level learning community, or as Arbaugh (2001) noted,

The online learning environment can in fact reduce the traditional social distance between instructor and student…because the online environment may be more dependent upon the collective effort of all class participants rather than primarily the instructor to assure a successful course… (p. 48).

A significant body of evidence has documented that positive communication behaviors exhibited by faculty at all levels of instruction are fundamental to the learning process, and serves to encourage affective and cognitive development in a variety of instructional settings.  Previous investigations into the area of instructional communication have supported the long-held premise that verbal and nonverbal messages conveyed by instructors have the potential to influence student learning outcomes.  Links between teacher immediacy, student motivation, and affective learning have been well documented.  Instructional immediacy in the online classroom is the extent to which teachers are able to project affability and congeniality through their communication.  But doing so requires a planned and concerted effort, a little empathy, and a sincere desire to make online learning the fruitful experience that we ourselves would desire it to be.  

Andersen, J. F. (1979). Teacher immediacy as a predictor of teaching effectiveness. Communication Yearbook, 3, 543-559.
Arbaugh, J.B. (2001). How Instructor Immediacy Behaviors Affect Student Satisfaction and Learning in Web-Based Courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 64(4): 42-54. doi:10.1177/108056990106400405.
Baker, J., & Woods, R. H. (2004). Immediacy, cohesiveness, and the online classroom. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 15(2), 133-151.
Eastmond, D.V. (1995). Alone but together: Adult distance study through computer conferencing. Hampton Press:New Jersey.
Gorham, J. (1988). The relationship between verbal teacher immediacy behavior and student learning. Communication Education. 37, 40-53.
Holmberg, B. (1986). Growth and structure of distance education. London: Croom Helm.
Mehrabian, A. (1967). Attitudes inferred from non-immediacy of verbal communications. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 6, 294-295.
Mehrabian, A. (1968). Inference of attitudes from the posture, orientation, and distance of a communicator. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 32, 296-308.
Mehrabian, A. (1971). Silent messages: Implicit communication of emotions and attitudes. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Moore, M.G. (1989). Editorial: Three types of interaction. American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1-6.
Picciano, A. G. (2002). Beyond student perceptions: Issues of interaction, presence, and performance in an online course. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 6(1), 21- 40.
Swan, K. (2002). Building learning communities in online courses: The importance of interaction. Education, Communications, & Information, 2(1), 23-49.
Wanstreet, C. E. (2006). Interactions in online learning environments. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 7(4), 399-411.
Wiener, M., & Mehrabian, A. (1968). Language within language: Immediacy, a channel in verbal communication. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

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