In this keynote address, we hope you will enjoy the opportunity to learn about connectedness and social presence within online and blended learning environments as well as gain some easy-to-implement advice and strategies. Dr. Aimee Whiteside, a social presence researcher with over fifteen years’ experience, begins with some observations about face-to-face social interactions and makes some evidence-based inferences to online learning. She continues by offering her own research findings as well as that of other experts to suggest that students still crave connectedness in an online environment. She also finds that social presence matters for learning satisfaction and outcomes. Dr. Whiteside posits that learning begins and ends with social connections, yet learning how to leverage and weave those connections into the content area in a learning community is an art. Ultimately, through an awareness and understanding of the importance of connectedness, knowing the research to date, and learning some simple tips and tricks, you may leave this session better situated to continue cultivating and nurturing meaningful online and blended learning experiences in the future.