Social presence remains the key to a successful learning experience, and understanding social presence, with its critical connection to learning and community building, allows us to better support faculty and students.
Dr. Aimee Whiteside is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Writing at the University of Tampa. She specializes in social presence, blended and online learning, technology-enhanced learning, learning environments research, technical and professional communication, and academic writing. Dr. Whiteside's research has been featured within various edited books, Online Learning Journal, Intercom, Journal of Interactive Online Learning, Learning & Leading, EDUCAUSE Review, and the Online Learning Consortium's Best Practices. Before pursuing a career in teaching, Dr. Whiteside held a professional career as a Technical Writer and an Information Design Consultant for various organizations in the Minneapolis area. She also served as Research Fellow and Consultant in the Digital Media Center at the University of Minnesota. She taught at the University of Minnesota (2001-2007; 2009) and at the University of Wisconsin at Stout (2010-2011). She has served in programmatic leadership roles at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and she was a Curriculum Coordinator for the Center for the Advanced Study in Technology in Leadership Education (CASTLE). Over the years, Dr. Whiteside has received multiple honors and awards for her work, including a 2010 and a 2014 Best in Track award at the Online Learning Conference as well as various institutional and publisher research awards.
Students attending classes in the University of Minnesota's new, technology-enhanced learning spaces exceeded final grade expectations relative to their ACT scores, suggesting strongly that features of the spaces contributed to their learning.
Teaching in high-tech learning environments that center on collaboration and team-based learning often requires a complete course redesign and great deal of faculty time.