Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies


Communication Studies

First Reader/Committee Chair

Jo Anna Grant Ph.D


To maintain and continue to build long-lasting professional, educational, and personal relationships, this project provides a formal academic way of teaching for instructors, but it also that reflects what the heart of teaching should be about. It shows how instructors can facilitate care and demonstrate genuine positive intentions to their students when facilitating learning in an online environment. This goes beyond the only course content materials presented and moves to an educational experience that is cultivated through the student-instructor community.

The humanizing approach to online instruction for this project is defined as the center of communication and presence which includes students’ and instructors’ prior and current knowledge. It also provides a social capital structure that encompasses Culturally Relevant, Culturally Responsive, and Critical Pedagogy as the connective tissue that unites students and instructors to demonstrate their true nature or belief. This project uses the Community of Inquiry Model (teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence), along with the humanizing approach, motivation, validation, and communication immediacy to positively impact the online learning environment. A Guide demonstrates how the humanizing approach along with the Community of Inquiry Model work to produce outcomes of motivation, validation, and communication immediacy.