Community! Whether online or off, we all want to be part of one.
Berkleemusic’s continuing education students tell us that a sense of community is one of the most important parts of their online educational experience. Throughout a 12-week semester online, students network and study with classmates from all over the world. The course community helps students form lasting connections that live beyond the semester and into their professional lives.
We have a number of tools, both asynchronous and real-time, available to students to foster communication and collaboration in any given Berkleemusic courses. They are a:
– A “meet and greet” at the beginning of a course
– Lesson-specific questions presented by the instructor
– Student-generated questions or ideas
– Assignment feedback: instructors and classmates review and critique lesson assignments each week.
The chat tool is used for a weekly office hour also known as a class meeting. The students and instructor spend an hour chatting about the lesson of the week. Sometimes, an instructor will invite a guest artist or industry luminary in to participate in the chat.
In addition to the discussion boards and chat tool, there are instructor announcements, private messaging for confidential exchanges, and even email to help to keep the communication flowing and the course community collaborative.
How important is a sense of community to you in your online education? What are some of the ways that help you feel part of an online course community? What’s lacking? What kind of tools or interactions would you like to see?
I look forward to your responses!