In a complete net-based course where you do not meet the students face to fact, it is extra important to find other ways of being visible.
It is important to have active communication with students through different ways. This creates an environment where students know you are there to support them in learning.
Students need to know what you expect of them and what they can expect from you, for example, which rules to follow in group work, or how to handle the discussion forums and how you will make your presence felt in the forums.
Practically speaking, it is always a good idea to publish a photo of yourself so that students can connect a face with the teacher. It also makes the course more personal. An video to introduce the course, explain about goals, assignments and expectations can also be useful.
Let the students know how and when to contact you. Tell them how often you are logged in and that you are able to monitor how active they are in the course. How will you inform students about upcoming events? Will you send out a PIM (Ping Pong Instant Message)? An e-mail? Or should they use the Ask questions function?
With PIM, Ping Pong Instant Messaging, you, the teacher, can send messages to individuals or to groups. Students can confirm receiving a message, or send messages to each other.
It can be useful to invite students to a regular chat session to answer questions.
With messages you can give information, feedback or encouragement to individuals or groups.