Community building in the classroom is never simple with the short amount of time that you and your students have together. While it comes naturally to some, other students may be reluctant to speak up in class and only collaborate with classmates when assigned to during class sessions. To learn more about the need for collaboration, Cengage Learning recently surveyed thousands of college students and instructors about how well they collaborate in the classroom.

We asked instructors, “How connected to each other are the students in your in-person classes?” And we asked students, “How connected do you feel to your classmates in your in-person classes?” The responses were surprisingly consistent!

How connected do you feel to classmates in the classroom?

The majority of students appear to have a positive outlook on the community within their classroom. However, a quarter of students report a classroom experience with little or no discussion among classmates. We asked instructors if they would prefer their students to be more connected to one another within their classroom. We also turned to the students themselves to see if they wish they were more connected to their classmates.

Would you prefer to be more connected to classmates?

Despite 75% of students saying they have great communities within their classrooms, the majority of students said that they wish they could be even more connected to their classmates. An even larger 78% of instructors would also prefer their students to be more connected to one another. For advice on how to improve discussion and community within your classroom, visit our recent blog posts, “Three Steps to Creating an Engaging Classroom Discussion” and “Facilitating Discussions that Inspire Deeper Thinking.”

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more insights from our student and instructor surveys that reveal how instructors around the country are boosting collaboration. We’ll also be sharing hints from the students themselves on how they engage with their classmates.

What methods do you use to foster a community feel in your in-person classes? Share your ideas in the comments below.