Google Expeditions kits

Creating Online Learning Communities

By Lisa H.


Many schools and educators are delivering their classroom instruction solely online this year. It is an experience that is new to all, both students and teachers alike. Everyone is trying to navigate this new normal that has been sprung upon us. In doing this as educators, we want to try and make this experience as positive as possible for our students. With so much change happening in the lives of our students, trying to ensure that they have some form of stability and continuity in their learning community can help to bring comfort and reliability to what has been a chaotic year.


One of the best ways to help students feel supported is to build a secure and supportive community within your online classrooms. Give your students the opportunity to connect with you and their peers, this will help them to access the personal connection that we crave as humans. This connection is lacking in many aspects of life at present, ensuring that it is fulfilled within the classroom can bring more value than you may even know to the lives of your students. Even though we are not in our usual classroom setting you can still give your students that sense of belonging regardless of their location.


Creating Online Learning Communities


  1. Introductions - When working with new class groups, think about how you approach this in your classroom setting. Allow for introductions, ice breakers are a great way to help students get to know each other. A quick google search for online classroom icebreakers will lead you to a variety of ideas for all age groups.

  2. Safe Space - Another important factor to consider is developing a safe space for your students. Include your students in this process, start with a discussion about what makes a positive classroom environment and let it flow naturally from there. Before you know it you will have a number of wonderful ideas that have come from your students themselves. This will also help them to believe and accept the values and ideas that you have all discussed which you can then create classroom contracts with.

  3. Availability - In order to feel supported your students need to know that you are available. Often when speaking with others we apologize for interfering with their time. How many times have you started an email with the phrase ‘sorry to bother you’? Your students need to feel that you are open to communication. Holding a presence online will help to do this. Interactive announcements, videos, polls and feedback are a great way to bring a piece of you to your online classroom. When your students are comfortable with you they will be more comfortable learning and participating!


We hope that some of these tips will help to create a positive community within your online classroom. It has been a challenging time for all and it’s more important than ever to support and look out for one another. We’d love to hear your back to school stories, feel free to share and comment below!


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