For college students who either need or prefer to take online classes, the benefits are endless. However, certain challenges arise that instructors of online courses always strive to overcome. One such example is that community building in online classrooms can be much more challenging than in-person classrooms. To learn more about the need for collaboration in the online classroom setting, Cengage Learning surveyed thousands of college students about how they collaborate in their online courses.

We asked students, “How connected do you feel to your classmates in your in-person classes?” and “How connected do you feel to your classmates in your online classes?”

How connected do students feel to online classmates?The majority of students appear to have a positive outlook on the community in their in-person classrooms. However, only 8% of students report having a close-knit community in their online classes, down from 18% in their in-person classes. And only 42% of students say they get along great with their online classmates, down from 57% in in-person classes. A staggering 50% of students report that they do not engage their classmates in discussion in their online classes.

As cited in yesterday’s blog post, “Community Building: Do Students Want Collaboration?,” 57% of students said that they wish they could be even more connected to their classmates, both on and offline. For advice on how to build a community in your online classroom, visit our blog posts, “Strategies that Engage Students in Online Courses” and “Building Community in Your Online Course.” There, you’ll find a number of unique ideas and activities designed to help foster student engagement in online classrooms.

Keep a lookout at the Engaging Minds blog for more insights from our student and instructor surveys that reveal how instructors around the country are boosting collaboration.

What do you find works best for building a feeling of community in your online classes? Share your ideas in the comments below.