Starting the semester with a focus on community

Sasha Mathrani
By Sasha Mathrani on September 13, 2022

Whether you are in-person, online, or some combination of the two, building community is essential to creating a safe and effective learning environment. As James M. Lang, an education writer and former professor, shares in his article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, building community is one of the four principles that will “draw students in and prepare them to learn.” In a virtual environment, building community can often be more difficult than in-person. But, Engageli's purpose-built features are designed to enable collaboration, seamlessly creating community. 

Using Lang’s framework, it’s easy to build community in an Engageli virtual classroom as an instructor:

      1. Humanize yourself: This can be tough in a virtual setting. But, in an Engageli classroom, your video feed will be pinned to the top right of the screen to ensure learners can always see you. If you’re comfortable, share some facts about yourself, your life, or your intellectual journey, using pictures and videos shared via Share Screen or the Show Clips features.

      2. Encourage learners to talk to you and one another: Engageli’s classrooms are structured in virtual tables where your learners can have organic conversations with their peers without interfering with the lecture or discussion. You can also see all their video feeds and engagement markers to keep track of how much they are engaging at their tables. You might also want to use Engageli’s built-in polls or Engageli’s icebreaker templates, then have learners discuss their answers at tables.

        As best told by an instructor using Engageli:

        "The first time I used Engageli all I had to do was look at the animated faces of my students as they were sitting at their tables to know it was working. It allowed them to connect and interact with each other as naturally as they may have done if we were in person."

      3. Greet your learners: With Engageli, ‘walking around your classroom’ is easy. You can seamlessly move from table-to-table without leaving the classroom or wasting time transitioning to different breakout rooms, unlike video-conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. This allows you to interact with and greet each learner at their table even if you have a larger class. Even if you spend just a few moments with each table, your presence at their table can form a connection that enhances the learning through the rest of the semester.

As Lang shares, “The more comfortable the students feel with you and with one another from the beginning, the more comfortable they will be participating throughout the semester.” Set the tone for your course this semester by creating a community amongst your learners. 

Interested in trying Engageli to build community with your learners? Schedule a demo today!

Published by
Sasha Mathrani
Sasha Mathrani
September 13, 2022