9 Building community

Building community and a good online experience

Building community and ensuring a good experience in an online environment includes a number of concepts, including building both synchronously and asynchronously.

The importance of the first week in establishing a presence, expectations and simply getting everyone off to a good start cannot be underestimated. Watch Instructional Designers Melissa Jakubec and Michelle Harrison’s webinar Building that Crucial First Week to learn more about tips and techniques for getting off to a good start in your remote course. The webinar slides are here: Building the Crucial First Week.

We also recommend Educational Technologist Brenna Gray’s webinar Building Community with Tech Tools, and accompanying Building Community with Tech Tools.

In addition, Equity Unbound has teamed up with OneHE and created a resource for sharing community building resources. You can find all the activities on OneHE’s site as they are released. Some are good introductory activities, while others can be used throughout the semester. They will also provide opportunities to contribute and share your adaptations of them.

Recommendations for holding synchronous sessions

This collection of articles summarizes key aspects of facilitating online learning sessions.

Video series of recommendations

The first series of four videos from Contact North captures some main recommendations for working with students through videoconference methods.

Prepare before class

Prepare your students

Encourage participation

Engage your student


These next videos speak to two key areas: building teacher presence online and what to do when things go wrong.

Building teacher presence online

What to do when things go wrong (like a zoombombing)


To go deeper

How to make online a ‘place’ for learning” provides an in-depth description of creating community in the online environment, plus many other resources are cited therein.

Up next

The next chapter focuses on fostering a culture of care and supports available for students.