Creating Connections in Online Classrooms

Last week, I shared an article about the things teachers need to focus on while creating online courses. As an extension to that thought, we also ought to think about how our students will consume our courses. How are we designing the course? Do we expect to disseminate information and teach concepts or can we also try and capitalize on the social aspect of the online classroom through our course design?

Here’s an article that delves deeper into this issue.

…Although the teacher seemed to be learning lots of interesting things from the texts, she felt something was missing. The chat rooms were spaces to discuss the readings where she could read plenty of intelligent comments in academic language. Trying to use that space to get to know her classmates just didn’t feel right. You know when you go to a library to study on your own? That’s how she felt.

This story made me think of the reasons people look for courses, either face to face or online. When I look for a course, my initial motivation is knowledge. But why don’t I go to a library or use the internet to learn on my own? Learning in a classroom with a teacher allows me to have help when I need it, I can exchange ideas with other people, not only about the topic I’m learning, but about life too. I can make connections and feel I’m part of a group. I can read books and study, but I can also laugh and have a good time. We can’t forget that most of us love learning new things, however, meeting people and making connections is part of our social human nature…

Read the complete article More Than Content, We Want to Make Connections by Ana Maria Menezes.

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