Building community in an online classroom is possible and may present some additional challenges. Instructors who build community in their online courses do so deliberately.
- They begin by requiring that learners introduce themselves to the class with more than a name.
- These instructors may establish peer-mentoring groups early in the course and provide guidelines for learners to use those groups.
- They design assignments and assessments that require learners to meet in small groups, incorporate video, and use synchronous sessions.
- Instructors also require regular interaction between learners by requiring group projects and other group activities.
- Instructors also maintain the community by calling learners in to maintain community standards of civility and the classroom guidelines as established at the beginning, perhaps even using a synchronous session to establish these ground rules. Instructors who interact respectfully with their learners regularly encourage their learners to interact respectfully with each other.
- These instructors also use check-ins with learners in private ways: ask “how’s it going?” or more broadly “can we change something about the course to encourage you to learn better?”