Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Ugur Kale

Committee Co-Chair

Jiangmei Yuan

Committee Member

Jiangmei Yuan

Committee Member

John Oughton

Committee Member

Kimberly Floyd


Higher education faculty who teach online can face numerous challenges in providing optimal experiences for their students. Besides their potentially limited instructional design expertise and understanding of how to optimize technology to support learning, faculty may have difficulties in finding ways to make themselves be perceived as real people who are approachable, caring, and likeable due to online nature of the learning context. As a preliminary means to address these issues, the current study focused on the development of the DISCOVER Model, which was designed to provide higher education faculty with a framework to develop actionable plans in the creation of audio and video media assets while focusing on best practices to boost student perceptions of instructor immediacy and instructor social presence. This model, developed as an enhancement to the ADDIE model of instructional design, provides a sequence of eight steps across design and development, and implementation and evaluation phases, that guide instructors through making informed choices in creating media assets and revising them. This mixed-method study took place at a university in the Appalachian region of the United States and focused on two undergraduate courses and two graduate courses taught by three instructors. The instructors used The DISCOVER Model to create media assets for their courses and 136 students opted into completing an online survey about their experiences that sought to measure their perceptions of instructor immediacy and social presence. Instructors participated in regular meetings and a summative interview with the researcher and six students were interviewed. Instructors were also assigned model adherence scores by the researcher based on how closely they were perceived to follow the model in creating their media assets. The results indicated that instructors who showed high model adherence had students who indicated moderately high perceptions of instructor social presence and immediacy. Further, graduate students indicated higher perceptions of social presence perceptions than undergraduate students. Findings and implications were discussed.