Taking an online course is often scary for my students. They need that interaction they are used to in the classroom. But creating that sense of community and/or trust can be difficult. For me, I’ve found that the very first discussion is extremely important. Think about it – in a classroom students can see one another and interact. Online, the visual interaction is lost.
In the past, I have had an introduction discussion board where students are required to post a picture so we can “see” one another. While this method helps, it still doesn’t provide students with a sense of who the person is and his/her personality. Beginning this fall, I’m having students create a video. Students will create a video introduction and then post the video to YouTube. Students will be given some choices for options to create the video
- Adobe Spark – idevice & web – free
- Screencast-o-matic – free
- iMovie – iOS or Mac
- iOS/Android/Windows cell phone
Students will also learn about the different options when posting a video to YouTube. While I teach mathematical courses, it’s important for students to learn how to communicate with one another in person as well as virtually.
The initial discussion sets the stage for the entire course as well as how students feel they can interact with one another and the instructor.
There are a few articles I’ve found about online community that have guided my decisions. Have a look:
- How To Build An Online Community: The Ultimate List Of Resources (2013)
- The Importance of Building Online Communities