Building an online community is just like building any other community: building relationships, trust, credibility, and open communication. It is important as an educator to set the norms for working together and clearly identify the roles and responsibilities for everyone in the community. It's also important to build in opportunities for interaction. When thinking about interaction, refer to Moore's Interaction Framework to consider the different sort of interactions a student might experience. Build opportunities for students to interact with yourself as the instructor, interact with the content, and interact with other students.
Student to Instructor Interaction
Students can interact with the instructor via email, asynchronously, or live zoom sessions, synchronously. You can also consider the feedback you provide to students as a form of interaction, and this is likely an asynchronous interaction. Posting on the class discussion forum is another way to interact with students asynchronously, while a live chat session in Microsoft Teams is a similar form of interaction in a synchronous format. You can also record lecture videos to post in the course as another means of interacting asynchronously with students. What are some other ways students might interact with you in your course?
Student to Student Interaction
Students can interact synchronously with their peers on live zoom sessions, especially in a breakout room where they have the opportunity to discuss. They can interact asynchronously with peers via email or the course discussion board. To build in more student to student interaction, consider building small group activities into the course. Students can be organized into small groups within D2L, and interact to complete tasks and activities. You can direct them to use collaboration tools to complete their tasks. Some tools to consider are shared documents like Microsoft Word in Office365 or a Google Doc, or a peer review tool like Eli Review. What are some other collaborative tasks students can complete together?
Student to Content Interaction
Students will primarily interact with the content asynchronously, but it is still important to provide a variety of interaction opportunities. Traditional means of interacting with content might include reading assignments in the textbook, articles, or case studies. Consider including a few other opportunities for interacting with content such as videos or podcasts online. Also think about ways for students to actively engage with the content, such as project-based learning where students explore and learn by working through a project, or by completing an assignment requiring them to respond to the content like a written assignment or their own video recording. What are some other ways students might interact with the content?