Developing Social Connections and Community in the Online Classroom, discussion with OIT Mentor Andrew Higgins (English) Wed. October 27, 12:00-1:00 PM

An Online Pedagogy Reading Circle Sponsored by the OIT Mentors, led by Andrew Higgins

Learning online can be a lonely experience, especially in the asynchronous classroom. The classroom banter and connections that seem to occur naturally in a seated class don’t happen in the online class unless the instructor specifically designs them, and students who don’t feel connected withdraw from courses at higher rates and perform at lower levels when they do remain in the course. Yet experienced online teachers often report that their online classes are more social, more interactive, and more dynamic than their seated classes.  In this reading circle we will explores ways to foster student interactivity and engagement with the course material by discussing “Developing Interactivity, Social Connections, and Community,” chapter 6 in Online Teaching at Its Best: Merging Instructional Design with Teaching and Learning Research, by Lunda B. Nilson and Ludwika A. Goodson (Jossey-Bass, 2018). Nilson and Goodson explore the ways that students’ interactions with instructors, course content, and other students can foster their sense of engagement with course material and support learning.

Join us for a lively discussion and some practical ideas about how to increase positive interactions in your class.

Here is the reading Nilson and Goodson Chapter 6 Developing Social Connections and Community

WebEx Meeting Link:

Earlier Conversation #1 An Online Pedagogy Reading Circle, September 29

Studies show that pre-COVID students were 10-20% less likely to complete online classes, with even lower rates for first-generation college students and students from historically marginalized communities. Given the added stressors of life during COVID, the question of how to best reach and motivate our students is of utmost importance.  In this reading circle we will discuss “Motivating Elements: Course Policies, Communication, Assessments and More” by Lunda B. Nilson and Ludwika A. Goodson (Jossey-Bass, 2018).  This book aims to deemphasize the role of technology in online teaching and place the focus on pedagogy.  Nilson and Ludwika survey the scholarship on classroom teaching, online teaching, and instructional design in order to identify best practices for online teaching that are grounded in research rather than anecdote.

Please read this 23-page chapter to spark conversation and ideas about how we can help motivate students to invest time and effort in their coursework. Or just show up!

Nilson and Goodson Chapter 5 – Motivating Elements

Recording of the session here

Questions?, please contact Andrew Higgins (