Teaching to Connect: Community-Building Strategies for the Virtual Classroom

Sharla Berry


A sense of community is central to student engagement and satisfaction. However, many students struggle with developing connections in online programs. Drawing on interviews with 13 instructors, this paper explores the strategies that they use to help students develop a sense of community in synchronous virtual classrooms. Four strategies for building community online are identified:  reaching out to students often, limiting time spent lecturing, using video and chat as modes to engage students, and allowing class time to be used for personal and professional updates.


learning community, community of inquiry, online learning , higher education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v23i1.1425