Five Easy Tips for Building Community Online

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Got 5 minutes for 5 tips?

So many of us are being asked to move to online with little time to prepare… when we thought we might have been face-to-face. Here are five quick tips to help build community while you’re online with your students:

  1. Send a welcome letter with your personal, warm voice, or make a welcome video for your students for the beginning of the semester. Show them the real you, let them know what to expect, and just add that human touch. Check out some samples here and here is mine for this semester.
  2. Do some warm introductory activities at the beginning of the class to get students to know each other beyond just “name and major”. You can do intros synchronously or asynchronously, or you can do something that will surprise them like a human scavenger hunt, sharing the story of their name or sharing an object from home in small groups. Just be careful to give students alternative options (see these safety considerations). More ideas for intro activities here.
  3. Check in on how students are feeling. Here are some ways of doing it so they don’t just say “we’re fine”, and a video on trauma-informed pedagogy if you’d like to let them know you understand what they’re going through. More ideas for setting the tone in your class here
  4. Use a variety of warm-up activities using chat, polling tools, and breakout rooms if you’re able. A quick and energizing one is Wild Tea and a slow and reflective one I love is Spiral Journal. More ideas for warm-ups are available here
  5. Create a “third place” like Slack or WhatsApp for informally connecting outside of classtime (and even during class time). This is a space that will provide some continuity between your online weeks and your in-person weeks throughout the semester.

If you have 30 minutes, check out this really micro-professional-development path on building community online

Featured Image from Pixabay:

5 thoughts on “Five Easy Tips for Building Community Online

  1. #buildingcommunity online is so important!! Thanks for sharing! A little exercise I think works really well as people are entering an online session is squiggle birds…

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