One of the first things to consider when designing an online course is how you will interact and engage with students online. A present, engaged instructor helps create coherence in the online classroom and builds a sense of community that leads to students’ learning. Studies have shown that students who feel as though they are part of a community of online learners will be more successful in online courses.
SRJC Faculty have shared the following strategies to enhance a feeling of community by building strong instructor-student and student-student communication using Canvas tools. For examples of "live" class discussions using Zoom video conferencing, see the page Conferencing, Live Chat, Confer Zoom in the Add Course Content chapter.
Teaching Through Discussions
In this 3-part video series “Teaching through Discussion Forums,” SRJC faculty Jessica Harris shares discussion activities in her online class, “Introduction to Information Literacy.” The activities include her icebreaker activity in Canvas (part 1), a peer feedback discussion forum in Canvas in which students post research proposals (part 2), a Reading Apprenticeship strategy she uses to support self-reflection (part 3).
Engage with Personal Life Experiences
In this 6-minute video, SRJC’s Dr. Jurgen Kremer gives us a tour of his online General Psychology class in which he emphasizes skillful communication among students and connects with them himself by creating his own lecture videos and using Zoom for office hours. He also discusses some of the unique aspects of teaching Psychology online and engaging students by having them share personal life experiences.
More Discussion Ideas by SRJC Faculty
In this video, several SRJC faculty share how they use the Discussion tool in Canvas for ice-breaker activities, for students to post webcam recordings of themselves as assignments, to build higher-level workplace skills through dialogue, and to collaborate on semester-long group projects.