Cuthbertson and Falcone’s 5 strategies for building a strong online community:
Strategy 1: Regularly give students a place to be themselves and share their experiences, thoughts, and interests. Help them see the value of their participation by representing the information back to the group.
Strategy 2: Give responsibility to individuals or groups for discussion threads on select academic topics.
Strategy 3: Encourage student-to-student advice regarding assignments.
Strategy 4: Use synchronous communications to strengthen ties to the classroom community.
Strategy 5: Leverage students’ love of mobile technologies.
One specific strategy that would help build a strong online community -- which Donna has offered us the chance to do in our course -- is to have students create their own blogs. This has multiple benefits, and fits in with a number of Cuthbertson and Falcone’s strategies. For one, it provides a student with his own personal space wherein he can share his experiences with the rest of the class (Strategy 1). Moreover, if created in a public space, the learning can be shared with others outside of the class.
In addition, many blogs are compatible with mobile technology, which would allow a student to use a device of his choosing; also, many blogs allow the blogger to instantly share his posts to his social networking site(s), which could potentially lead to even more people reading his posts (Strategy 5).
From an assessment perspective, it would be nice to have a large chunk of a student’s work in one spot. By bookmarking the page in your web browser, it’d be relatively easy to access as well.