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Affective aspects of learning have been shown to influence cognitive aspects of learning (Russo & Benson, 2005; Salmon, 2004) and online educators are increasingly aware of the role played by emotions in online learning. To encourage a well-rounded online learning experience for students, online course designers have long been encouraged to provide students with opportunities to express their own personality and identity (Palloff & Pratt, 1999). Such design features have been linked with improved learning outcomes and decreased attrition rates (McInnerney & Roberts, 2004). However, a comparable discussion about the value of teacher personality in online courses has yet to be comprehensively considered beyond definitions and discussions of teacher presence. Although the development of teacher presence in online learning contexts can contribute in some way to the development of an online atmosphere where the teacher’s role extends beyond the cognitive coach or resource provider, the role of teacher personality is yet to be fully acknowledged as an aspect of the virtual classroom that could further enhance and transform students’ learning experiences. Rather than suggesting which offline personality type would best suit an online teaching role, this paper suggests that teachers should have the opportunity to express their personality in online learning contexts. By acknowledging this nexus between online and offline identities, the paper provides the grounding from which to frame and launch future investigations into how diverse teacher personalities can be allowed to shine in the online environment and, consequently, transform and enhance online experiences for future students and online teachers.

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