The Role of Emotion in Creating Instructor and Learner Presence in the Distance Education Experience


To be present is to be "at one" with the environment and with the elements in the environment. Until recently, presence has been defined and discussed in terms of cognitive or behavioral theory. Emotional aspects of presence have been largely ignored. A theory of presence must incorporate emotion and take into consideration its interaction with cognition and behavior. Emotion, along with cognition and behavior is integral to the way in which presence is perceived and experienced and is essential for explaining the ways in which we consciously and unconsciously perceive and experience distance education. A more complete understanding of the integration of the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional components of presence into distance education teaching and learning will impact the design, instructional facilitation, and experience of distance education instructors and learners. This paper focuses on a literature review of the research that includes: 1) emotion as indispensable to the perception of reality; and 2) presence and the role of emotion in creating presence. It suggests: 3) a framework for creating presence in the distance education experience; 4) implications for practice; 5) implications for future research; and 6) provides a broad review of methods for measuring presence when using distance education technologies.

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