Transported presence is the idea that we can be present someplace without having to go there physically. We now have the ability to bring people together from remote locations into digital spaces (e.g. virtual room, virtual desktop, video chat/IM). The implication is that we can eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the distance between us. We’ve already been doing this since the invention of the telephone, but with advances in technology, communicating at a distance doesn’t need to feel so… distant.


I saw this video on transported presence and wanted to share it because it could not be more relevant to distance advising. Distance advisors are active participants in this new form of communication – some are just getting their feet wet as they explore various web 2.0 tools to connect with students whereas others are diving right in. Entire institutions are now transporting their campus presence to digital space and, in the process, they are enhancing student engagement, improving interdepartmental communication, and making students feel connected to a larger community. They achieve this by creating a Facebook page to foster a sense of community, using Twitter to communicate important events and information, or by creating a blog dedicated to helping students achieve academic success. They are reaching out to students where they are – online. (Check out the top 10 social media savvy institutions to see what they are doing)

Top 10 Social Media Savvy Colleges


I like the term “transported presence” because it implies that communicating at a distance entails a relational component to the interaction; we don’t just coldly communicate information – that could be done with an FAQ page or a chat bot – we convey our presence as human beings so that students feel connected to us and to their institution – the larger community to which they belong. Technologies offered by companies like OrgSync are leveraging social media technology to facilitate interaction and create a sense of community among students (see article on Academic Social Networks). As online education continues to expand, those institutions that foster a sense of community will transport traditional values into the nontraditional spaces of the digital world.