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Connecting to students in online classes

October 24, 2013

Many of us have thought about the potential for students to feel isolated in online courses.  Is it possible to cultivate a sense of social presence and interpersonal connection in this context?  In this presentation, two faculty members who have successfully engaged with students in online courses will share their strategies, which can be applied to any class that makes use of online technology.
Laura Baecher will share her experiences building interactivity and personalization within an online course.  She will show how she used a broad set of Blackboard tools, especially wikis, to encourage students to "see" each other and humanize the online learning experience.  Her course received very high teaching evaluations and she will discuss what students found to be most helpful in engaging them in the independent work that is essential to online learning.
Diane Berman will discuss the goals for her course and how she was able to reach them in an online environment. Diane found that it is possible to create personal connection, cultivate trust, and inspire growth both individually and collectively in an online forum. With the help of wikis, groups and Blackboard Collaborate sessions, she accomplished all that she had done in her face-to-face class, in some instances more effectively.