Building a sense of community in online courses
From the first months of 2020, COVID-19 transformed the landscape of education world-wide. Numerous educational institutions were forced due to the circumstances of the pandemic to move their courses online. This was the case at Akita International University in Akita, Japan. As the semester came to a close in July 2020, students were given an opportunity to reflect on their experiences with online education via end-of-term course evaluations, focus groups, and public meetings with university administration. From the results of these opportunities to share experiences in remote and virtual education, the authors were reminded that online learning can be a lonesome endeavor. However, it does not need to be this way. A sense of community, camaraderie, and shared purpose can be developed within the online teaching and learning environment. This article will offer suggestions generated from the authors' experience. All suggestions have the authenticity of having been successfully utilized in the authors' online classrooms.(original abstract)
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