Engaging with the online learning community
Sometimes you may be asked to collaborate on an assignment or project. At other times you work with people in less formal ways. Engaging in a learning community is a great way to share ideas and gain support.
Unlike the classroom, online conversations (for example, on a discussion board) can take place over a long period of time. The drawback might be having to wait for a response from another learner or tutor, who may not be accessing the discussion at the same time as you. However a major benefit of this kind of communication is that it allows time for thoughtful, considered responses - leading to a better quality of discussion.
It is through these interactions - posting and making comments on other students’ posts - that the online learning community is built.
If you haven’t already done so, think about how you engage with other students and tutors online. Below are some tips to help you do this.
Tips for engaging online
- Not confident enough to post? - take a few steps towards this by liking others’ comments (or posting short replies) which can then lead up to posting your own comments. Your views are just as important as those of other students.
- Not sure what to talk about? Geography - ask where other students are located. Find out if any students are in similar time zones. They could be an important part of your online support community.
- Ask questions – this can help you deepen your knowledge of a subject. Spend time researching and thinking about how to phrase your question before you add it to the discussion to ensure you get the information you need.
Why not share a post introducing yourself to other students on your course? You could include a picture or video and mention where you live and some of your interests. This can help you and other students to feel more connected, and encourage others to post.
For online learning courses, sharing short video clips and/or audio clips has been shown to help build trust among peers (Kennedy, Bruce, & Young, 2013) which aids collaboration.