Creating an (Online) Community of Learners
Classes start at Morehead State University tomorrow morning but I opened up my classroom (in Blackboard) a few days ago and already 17 of my 26 first year seminar students have checked in. Some of those have only checked in to look at the syllabus, but a few have already joined me in an effort to begin building our classroom community and I can’t wait to log into Blackboard tomorrow morning to see who else has added their six-word memoir and me museum.
Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that community is important to me as an instructor (see posts on my current blog and my former blog). I know community is important for learning in general and writing in specific. I believe strongly in the power of collaboration and that can only be successful with trust and understanding. It is not always easy to create a class community and even more challenging in an online community, but I have been teaching online long enough that I feel pretty good about the community we create. I do feel a bit of added pressure this semester as this is my first time teaching freshmen in a while and my first time ever teaching a first year seminar. I know a lot more (thanks to my new job) about the impact of these early class experiences on student persistence and success. I want this class to be fun and encouraging and supportive to set these students on a good trajectory for success in college. No pressure, right?