Resource Center

Build relationships in an online classroom.

One common objection to online learning is that students and teachers can’t build relationships. We disagree. Online interactions can be just as rewarding as those that happen face-to-face. They’re just different.

Here are four quick ways to facilitate rapport in the virtual classroom:

1. Make sure students have a clear understanding of schedules, due dates, and assignments. This is one of the most important skills educators should have in any classroom environment. But online, it’s imperative. When students understand how to navigate the course, they can focus their time understanding the material they’re there to learn.

2. Conduct an introductory student survey. In addition to a simple introduction, ask each student about learning styles, their preference in working in groups, or what forms of communications technology they feel most comfortable with. Use this information to tailor the way you deliver information to each class. “When students understand how to navigate a course, they can focus their time understanding the material they’re there to learn.”

The great advantage of online classes is that location is no longer an issue. That extends to relationships as well.

3. Be an active participant in the class. Answer questions within one business day. Comment on discussion boards. Praise students. Push the limits of their learning. Just because it’s not face-to-face doesn’t mean students can’t be fully engaged. And that starts with you.

4. Make the most of being online. You don’t have to limit class communication to one or two tools. There’s a world of technology out there that can facilitate relationships and learning. And when you’re already online, it’s right at your fingertips. Here are a few tools you may find useful:

Resources

GroupMe
What it is: a free, simple app that can be used to text up to 50 people in one group Use it to: send out reminders or discussion questions
You can find GroupMe at https://groupme.com/en-US/

Screencast-O-Matic
What it is: a tool to record screencasts on your own computer Use it to: demo something for students from your desktop
You can find Screencast-O-Matic at https://screencast-o-matic.com/

Join.Me
What it is: An app that allows users to show and take control of someone else’s desktop in seconds Use it to: troubleshoot student issues or share your screen in real time “Praise students. Push the limits of their learning. Just because it’s not face-to-face doesn’t mean students can’t be fully engaged. And that starts with you.”
You can find Join.Me at https://www.join.me/