Tag: building community

Best Practices for Communicating With Students in Online Classes

Introduction A recent SPS student satisfaction study asked students to identify ways their academic program could be enhanced. Numerous students suggested making improvements to instructor-student communication and engagement. I know what you’re thinking. Communication should be easy! With digital tools to connect students and instructors, shouldn’t this come naturally? Actually, communication with students in online classes needs to be frequent, intentional, and multifaceted. As an online instructor, you will need to actively combat distance and silence to make meaningful connections with your students. Read on to discover tools and strategies that can make the process easier. Make sure your contact


Connecting with Northwestern

As a Distance Learning faculty member, you probably don’t have an office on campus where students can pop in or a lounge where you can chat with your peers. You could be in a different time zone–or even a different country!–from Northwestern’s campuses in Evanston and Chicago. It can get lonely out there, but luckily there are lots of ways to make that distance feel shorter. Here are some tips for connecting with your students, faculty peers, the School of Professional Studies, and Northwestern as an institution. Follow us and connect with us (and your peers) on social media. Is


Designing to Promote Instructor Presence and Instructor-Student Interaction

Whatever our role might be in the course design process, we are charged with creating an exemplary learning experience for our adult learners. One way to ensure we create the highest quality and most engaging courses is by designing learning experiences that incorporate instructor presence and encourage student-instructor interactions.   Instructor presence is one of the three interrelated presences central to effectively applying the community of inquiry framework to online course design, in addition to social presence and cognitive presence. The community of inquiry framework, developed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer in 2000, focuses on creating “a group of individuals


The Importance of Icebreakers In Online Classes

If you read the Chronicle Of Higher Education or follow coverage about online learning in popular media, a persistent question emerges: How can teachers build community in online courses? These publications frequently cite the importance of creating community in online courses. But, as instructors and designers, how do we do that? How do we create a supportive, friendly, intellectually stimulating learning environment among adult learners who may never see each other in person? One way to create this sense of community is through the use of icebreakers. Icebreakers are interactive activities that help students and instructors get to know each