This week in my K-12 Online Teaching class, we were introduced to the idea of establishing an online community where people feel that they belong.  Since online learning sets up a class that is not based on proximity and physical contact, certain strategies must be considered to create a feeling of belonging and interconnectedness.  Therefore, I have written these strategies with the idea of creating a community for an online class.  Many of these ideas were inspired by my textbook, Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research-Based Strategies and Practices.  However, since I don’t actually teach online, I had to imagine how I would structure activities in the event that I am preparing an online course.  Here is my plan:

My Plan for Online Community Building Strategies

The initial strategy involves me introducing myself.  Because I am trying to personalize this introduction, I would use my skills with video editing to create an entertaining introduction.  This will also model the same type of information that I want to receive from them in an introduction.

I will not obligate students to make a video, so I will provide them with general guidelines about the information that I want them to present, but let them choose the type of delivery (e.g. information post, audio recording, drawing, or presentation).  The information that I will ask for the students to include is: photo or image of themselves, family information, location, hobbies, technology background, experience with online courses, and educational goals for this class and beyond.

Many of these activities provide for a safe environment, yet it also motivates students to create good quality responses, because they know that other students will be reading or watching.  Requiring students to first, answer a teacher made quiz about other students, then, make their own quiz about themselves, will be the most effective way to make a community because they will have to depend on each other to accomplish each individual task.  These activities have the purpose of deepening interpersonal relationships online, so later they will be able to place confidence in their classmates when collaboration is required.

Reference:

Rice, K. (2011). Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research-Based Strategies and Practices (1st ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
Advertisements