Topic 3: Building a sense of community in an online course using digital technology

Building a sense of community in an online course means creating a space where students and instructors feel connected, supported, and engaged with each other and with the course content. To do this, you can use digital technology to:

  • Communicate frequently and clearly with your students, using email, announcements, or other platforms.
  • Establish social presence and rapport with your students, using icebreakers, introductions, or personal stories.
  • Meet in real-time with your students, using video conferencing tools, such as Zoom or Teams.
  • Create opportunities for information and expertise sharing among your students, using digital tools, such as blogs, wikis, or podcasts.
  • Use collaborative learning techniques to promote active and cooperative learning, using digital tools, such as Google Docs, Padlet, or Kahoot.
  • Develop sub-communities to foster a sense of belonging and identity, using digital tools, such as Slack, Discord, or Facebook.

The Caffeinated classroom. (2021, May, 11). How to facilitate collaboration virtually. [YouTube Video].

Learn more:

Columbia | CTL. Center for teaching and learning. (e.d.). Community building in the classroom.

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Northeastern Center for advancing teacing and learning through research. (e.d.). Building a sense of belonging and community into an online course. Enhance student learning through class community.

Learn more:

Yergler, S. (2020, August 17). How to create community in a virtual classroom (blog). edutopia.

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The K. Patricia Cross Academy. (e.d.). 6 strategies for building community in online courses.

Learn more:

Turnitin staff. (2020, April 9). How to build communithy in an online classroom. Students and a sense of belonging in a remote learning enviroment [blog].