In an on-campus class, the development of community among students can come somewhat naturally as a result of their participation in your assignments. Class discussions, team projects and presentations, and study groups can help students get to know one another and develop a sense of familiarity and cohesion. What’s more, an impromptu invite to coffee or lunch after class is a very typical way for students to make friendships and build connections with their classmates.
Given that online students may never have the opportunity to meet in person, the process of building community in online courses can be more difficult. However, that’s not to say it can’t be done; it certainly can! It does take some effort, as well as some strategies that differ from the ones you’d use in an on-campus course.
We recently asked instructors: What methods you use to encourage community in your online classes? Below, you’ll see how they responded.