2. Creating a Digital Community
A sense of community, presence and participation is crucial to all online learning environments.
In this section we explore the ways in which you might build, nurture and prompt a sense of online community, whether to serve the ‘seminar’ or ‘workshop’ communities you work with on a week-by-week basis, or support other forms of student-staff community such as Induction groups, personal tutee groups, research groups, project teams and peer-to-peer student support groups.
This section guides your use of digital technologies to:
- Create an online space for student/staff welcome and introductions
- Introduce yourself, and check-in, to your learning community through content capture
- Set online ‘induction’ tasks that nurture community and belonging
- Maintain an online ‘room’ for student discussion and mutual help
Tips and tools to create a digital community for a flexible digital education
- Take a look at Enhancing Student Engagement with Live Sessions, an online guide by Dr Rafe Hallett, Director, KIITE and Catherine Chambers, Head of Digital Education, KIITE
- Try creating Induction student groups / whole cohorts in Microsoft Teams and allow students to post short introductory messages or videos using FlipGrid, setting out their expectations from the module.
- Overview of how MS Teams can be used as a Digital Community
- Downloading the Teams desktop app
- How to request a Team be created
- How to work with channels (including private channels) within a team
- How to integrate FlipGrid into your Team
- Overview of FlipGrid
- Set up a peer-to-peer Microsoft Teams Chat that allows students to talk through issues with their Student Voice Representative as the module / programme progresses.
- Develop a virtual scavenger hunt or Escape Room - Using OneNote Classroom - where the group have a list of items to find or puzzles to solve. Use Microsoft Teams Chat channels to encourage collaborative problem solving and social chat.
- You could embed a Padlet in your Module KLE that allows students to answer an introductory question or ‘challenge’, to post introductory profiles or summaries of their learning interests. You can also use Padlet to allow students to add links to online resources as the module develops.
- Overview of Padlet
- For smaller cohorts, experiment with a regular, virtual ‘coffee and chat’ using synchronous video calls or chat function in Microsoft Teams, to discuss general progress / understanding. Utilise the functions familiar to you via Teams Meetings & Calls experience.
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