Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

This content was published: February 13, 2020. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Increasing My Presence

Posted by | 11 comments

Hi there!  Those of you who know me realize how much I like tweaking my course and trying new things out. In this blog, I thought I’d share the top four things I do to create more instructor presence that is not tied to leaving feedback on assignments/discussions or responding to email.


I post at least three announcements per week. I avoid posting more than five though. Five would be a rare occasion. I don’t want to overload the students with too many announcements, so I try to be judicious and space them out a bit. :) I do add some icons for a bit of personalization.

Screenshot of announcements Widget

That’s me

I’ve scattered pictures of myself throughout the course. I try to use a variety of pictures in different places like my Questions? widget on Course Home or in the module descriptions.

screenshots of widget, module description, and q/a forum showing my picture.

Quiz Submission Views

I use submission views for my Quiz activities. I  provide a submission view if a student got and A to congratulate them or to encourage them to try again. In those views, I had begun using emoticons for fun visual interest.

Screenshot of emoticons representing great job and Thumbs up

I played around one day with a new app that made an emoji of me based off a selfie. I probably spent too much time with it to be honest, but a few of the animated GIFs that were generated gave me an idea!  Oh yes, you know where I am going and not because the picture is below. I replaced my emoticons with an animated emoji of me.

screenshot of submission view with static animated emoji

Intelligent Agents

I have an activity that is required but not graded. Students must complete one attempt on my Worksheets before they can access the Challenge Questions. The worksheets provide students with an opportunity to practice the math and graphing that are required on the Challenge Question assignments.   I release a detailed answer key if they can get a 60% or better on the practice exercise. (Yes, I do make them work a little for it.)

Intelligent Agents lets me set up an automatic email that will be sent if a student doesn’t get a 60% on the worksheets.  This runs every night and I have it set up to only send the first time it is triggered by a student on a particular worksheet.

screenshot of intelligent agent email sent to GMAIL

I’d add a banner or an emoji to this as well, but Brightspace doesn’t embed the image inline with the text. Rather, it’s sent as an attachment. :(

What can you think up?

What might you do in your own class?  The sky’s the limit! Well, Brightspace does have it’s own limitations, so maybe not the sky. But there is a lot of room to get creative! :)

Rondi Emoji giving a thumbs up

Click on image to see animated version



About Rondi Schei

As the Course Development Program Manager for Online Learning, Rondi works with faculty to develop engaging instructional materials and design high quality online courses. more »

Poppe with speech bubble


There are 11 comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Tanya Mead 1 year ago

Thanks Rondi! Love the animated self-emoji! Good ideas!

x by Aaron Schultz 1 year ago

Great post! I’ll definitely start using a few (or all). I did not know about Intelligent Agents, so look forward to exploring that tool. Thank you! ~ A

x by Ron Bekey 1 year ago

Hi Rondi,

Great job on this post! I didn’t know that the quiz Submission Views could create a reply with images, etc — I like the encouragement you are providing for them to take a quiz again and get a higher score, or just to congratulate them for a good score. Your selfie animated moji is cool too. What tool did you use to create it?

x by Debra Lippoldt 1 year ago

Once again, Rondi…Mind blown…

x by Chris Allen 1 year ago

this is awesome. I want to learn to do all of this. Will you teach a little mini workshop soon? The instructions and links are great, would be fun to review it in person.

x by bryan 1 year ago

I agree with Ron … I had no idea you could customize the Submissions view.
Maybe have a session with people where we get to focus on just that?
(A sort of hands-on session.)

x by JP 1 year ago

Rondi, I second previous posts in the accolades for your creativity… As well as the request for a workshops (perhaps also on RC campus) on given topics… What app did you use for the emoji-selfie?

x by Andy Zboralski 1 year ago

Thank you, Rondi. I like GIFs, and I will try to create some!

x by Rocco 1 year ago

Awesome post! Plus one on the request for the URL of the emoji-selfie.

x by Rondi Schei 1 year ago

What app did I use for the animated emoji’s?

The app I used was AR Emoji by Samsung. However, there are many apps available to create similar emoji’s. You can search your app store.

One word of caution with animated emoji’s, though. You don’t want to have it run on a continuous loop. If the animation doesn’t stop after a few cycles, you may need to run it through a GIF loop changer.

I used a free tool from EZGIF.com to fix my loop count: https://ezgif.com/loop-count. (It was quite easy to do, thank goodness! You don’t need to know anything about loop count for GIFs.)

x by Lisa 1 year ago

These are great! I’m a conscientious grader who gives feedback, which sometimes takes longer than I imagine, so I love anything that can happen automatically and not take lots of extra time :)

Thank you!

Add to the discussion

PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.