Being present in your remote course is key to keeping students engaged, leading to overall student success.  Here are a few ways to stay connected to your students and help them feel like part of your learning community.

Post Regular Announcements

Posting regular announcements keeps students informed and creates an encouraging online environment. Being present doesn’t mean that you have to be online all the time. You can maintain regular contact with your students through weekly updates, video reminders, and full-class messages acknowledging students’ good work.

Provide an Open Discussion Area

Providing an open discussion area encourages connection for your students—both to you and each other. Another way to build community is through an asynchronous discussion board.  This provides students a way to reach out to their classmates about topics that are not specifically related to a weekly topic or specific assignment.  For example, a student might use this discussion area to ask for help in finding resources for an assignment or to share details about a community event related to the course topic.

Use Google Forms Surveys

Creating quick surveys is a great way to check in with students throughout the term. When asking for feedback, it’s important to ask questions about things you can change, and to respond to that feedback holistically. Two simple feedback questions that can be effective are: 

    • What is one thing your instructor could change to improve your learning in this course?
    • What is one thing YOU could change to improve your learning in this course?

Schedule Optional Zoom Sessions

Giving students the opportunity to meet with you in real time can help to build community in your course. Be sure to have some kind of interaction planned to keep students engaged.