Community Building Overview

Victoria Arthur, English Professor, speaks on the importance of building communities.

Watch 4 min Video

Community Building is Essential

Communication and community building are essential for online learning environments. Until recently, online education has been viewed as a kind of digitized correspondence course, but with very little correspondence. We know that participatory learning results in learners gaining a deeper and longer-lasting understanding of course material, so designing learning environments that afford social interactions and group inquiry is a key factor to the success of your course.

Community Building Tools


A blog is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general class access and use. Blogs also have a commenting system, so that members of the course can respond to and interact with one another. Learn More »


A discussion forum is an area where a topic or a group of related topics are discussed. Within each forum, users can create threads. A thread includes the initial post and any replies to it. Learn More »


You can create formal groups of students to collaborate on work, and create these groups one at a time or in sets. You can manually select group members, have the system randomly assign members, or allow students to self-enroll. Each group has its own space, or homepage, with links to tools to help students collaborate. Only the instructor and the group members can access the group tools. Learn More »


A Journal offers students the opportunity to reflect on course content and communicate privately with you. You can use the tool to gauge understanding and guide students in their knowledge acquisition. Your journal comments can help students refine their writing and ideas. Learn More »


Wikis allow instructors to create a collaborative space where students can contribute to and modify one or more pages of course related materials, providing a means of sharing and collaboration. Wikis are used to create a group space within the course where all students can participate in viewing, editing, and adding content. The wiki tool includes a history feature which allows you to see who's done what. Learn More »

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