Provided by Esther C. Kim, Lecturer, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California. Edited for McNeese Faculty by Dr. Wendi Prater, Director eLearning, McNeese State University.
In a traditional “on the ground” classroom, both instructor and students have the option of arriving early or staying after class. This is one of those invisible features of classroom culture that does not exist online — unless it is purposely created. So I “open” my online class about 10 minutes before the official start time to allow students to “arrive” early, ask questions, or chat with one another (about anything, course-related or not). It’s a great way to create a sense of community, because the alternative looks something like this: Students log in via audio one minute before class, wait silently for class to start, turn on the camera, and, when class is over, promptly log off. Such a format may be efficient, but it impedes positive instructor-to-student as well as student-to-student relationships, which, research has shown, help facilitate learning.