Jessica Tenuta, Packback’s cofounder and Chief Product Officer, recently co-authored a piece in University Business, alongside Whitney Kilgore of iDesign, on how to build community in online learning environments.
The piece covers five actions educators can take to keep students motivated and connected in a time of extreme uncertainty in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.
While the article talks primarily about how educators can support students during a difficult time, these tips are also mindsets to help instructors set realistic and kind expectations for themselves. This is an unprecedented crisis with impacts on the well-being of both educators and learners; support, empathy, and kindness for both sides of the classroom experience (learners and teachers) are necessary for either side to thrive.
“Even under the best circumstances, one of the biggest barriers to making an online course effective with students is the challenge of building communities that maintain social connection even in a digital environment. But this piece is critical. When students are exposed to more engaged peers, it has a direct positive impact on their own performance. […] It could be tempting to focus on content delivery (like getting lecture recording just right), but perfection is so much less important than getting students engaged.”An excerpt from “How to Build Community through Online Learning.”