COVID-19 Educator Help Desk

Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

  • 1.  Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Posted 28 days ago
    Edited by Lauren Kocher 6 days ago
    In anticipation of the fall, where teachers won't know their new students, what strategies and resources have people found helpful to build relationships within an online setting?

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    Deborah Baker, Ph.D.
    Asst Supt C & I
    Brighton CSD
    Rochester, NY
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  • 2.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Community Champion
    Posted 28 days ago
    Edited by Denise Wright 6 days ago
    Hi, Deborah,

         I have taught in an online setting and really have enjoyed it. Building personal relationships is key for student success.  These are some of the strategies I have used in the past to assist with building strong relationships with students.

    1) Before the course begins, every student receives a, "Welcome Call". This call is for the instructor to 1) Say Hello   2) Remind the student of the Course Start Date 3) Ask the student if they know where to log in for the first day of class 3) Reverify contact phone/email.  Since I taught in a K12 setting I tried to make sure a parent was there too on the call.  I did a few calls each day to pace myself, since, this is a lot to do, but, worth it in the end. ( I used google voice to set up my phone number and enjoyed it since I was able to text directly on a chrome extension on my computer)

    2) Live Class Meeting, within the first  three days of class. During this class meeting, say "Hi" to everyone who comes into session. Review pacing guide, expectations, screen share, and explain how the course will run, share your contact info, and when live sessions will be happening. Lots of students seem to show up for this session. If you are teaching K12 students it is great to invite parents/guardians to this meeting, so, they also understand online classroom expectations. Online learning at times seems to be like a diet everyone is super motivated at the start then sometimes people to start to "give up" or slack as time goes on . ( just like in real life,LOL.)  I try my best to keep the momentum going.

    3) At the start of the course, I created an introduce, yourself forum, as an instructor, I made a video about me to share with the students. I asked students to also contribute in the online forum. They could either just write some information about themselves, record a podcast/audio recording, post a picture, or create a video. I like them having choice. It was fun to learn all about them and see what they would create. Some of the questions, I would ask in the forum would be, what year they were in school, what they like to do when not learning online, was this their first online class. (ect) I made sure I responded to all students in the online forum so they were "heard" and acknowledged, it was a lot of work but, worth it in the end. It was a great way to show I was "present" in their online classroom.

    4) A phone call check in throughout the semester to all students, I would then document this in my phone recording logs, I would ask them  about progress, what they thought of the course, how could I improve it, what they thought was easy, and what was challenging.  It important to ask how the technology was working for them. ( Were videos playing for them, did they have the closed captioning or screen reader if they needed it, any questions on a particular assignment)

    5) Make learning "social" post a flip grid where students had to answer a question related to content and another question just to get know them or have fun. I was able to "iframe" my flipgrid with the use of HTML into my LMS.

    6) Make contact through, mass text messaging, email, and auto-calls. Be sure to be upbeat, warm, and encouraging. Tone means everything.

    7) Weekly "short" videos at the top of the course stating assignments and expectations for the week. They did have the pacing guide, but, I like using video since it seems more personal. I would also text the video out as well, hopefully, encouraging students  to watch.

    8) Playing games during live sessions creates a sense of community and fun. We played in our live sessions Bingo, Quizzes, and Family Feud. I would make a fuss for the winner telling them they had "bragging" rights and email them a certificate. The students and I got quite a laugh and it made , student-student, teacher- student, relationships stronger.

    9) It is a lot of work to build these relationships, but, in the end I did have students texting graduation pictures to me. This made my heart quite full.

    Good Luck with planning for online learning and building those terrific relationships !

    Have a wonderful summer, Denise



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    Denise Wright, M.Ed.
    STEM Educator
    Ocean Bay Middle School
    @DenisecWright
    ------------------------------

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  • 3.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    PLN Leader
    Posted 27 days ago
    Edited by Kristin Edwards 6 days ago
    What a thorough and thoughtful list, @Denise Wright Thank you!

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    Kristin Edwards
    Distance Learning Specialist
    CiTiBOCES
    kedwards@citiboces.org
    @CiTiKristin
    ------------------------------

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  • 4.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Posted 27 days ago
    Agreed Denise, what a comprehensive list you provided!  i get what you're saying...building relationships in a F2F situation is difficult for some students.  I can see where online presents more challenges so you def. have to work on it.  thanks for sharing!
    Debby

    ------------------------------
    Deborah Baker, Ph.D.
    Asst Supt C & I
    Brighton CSD
    Rochester, NY
    ------------------------------

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  • 5.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Posted 26 days ago
    What an awesome post, thank you so much for sharing.  Creating connections online was challenging, you through descriptions are very useful.

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    Laura Wojick
    CTE Teacher
    Philllipsburg School District
    ------------------------------

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  • 6.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Community Champion
    Posted 26 days ago
    Edited by Denise Wright 6 days ago
    Thanks Laura and Everyone,

    I taught online and served as a subject matter expert in my state for STEM/Science courses from 2011-2017.

    I taught and designed online courses in the LMS Moodle, year around, for spring, summer, and fall semesters.

    In 2017, I went back to the classroom, but, I have yet to have an entire school year of teaching complete. Living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2017and 2018 we lost school time due to hurricanes. Now this school year, we lost time due to COVID 19.  I never knew how much my online teaching skill set would be such an asset this school year.

    Because of my prior online experience,  I am excited to share that I will be a columnist , with the National Science Teaching Association,   for Science Scope.

    I will be writing about best practices in online teaching to assist science teachers. We do not know what next year will hold, but, we do know that it will be much different than we have been accustomed.

    Thanks, I am glad my suggestions were helpful. Teach On.

    Virtual Smiles,   Denise

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    Denise Wright, M.Ed.
    STEM Educator
    Ocean Bay Middle School
    @DenisecWright
    ------------------------------

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  • 7.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Posted 6 days ago
    Denise,
    What a comprehensive list. Thank you for sharing!
    Gaby

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    Gabrielle Richard-Harrington
    IT and AT Instructor, Consultant, & Instructional Technologist
    Strategy 2 Design and Hampshire College
    ------------------------------

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  • 8.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Community Champion
    Posted 25 days ago
    Hi Deborah,

    A few weeks ago Susan Stewart and I did an episode of Activities Across Grade Levels devoted to building rapport with your online students. Go to this page and scroll down to Episode 10. All of these are designed to help teachers think about strategies (at various levels, obviously) for making online learning all the more effective and engaging. There are slides and a doc with links we mentioned, as well. I hope it's useful to you!

    Rushton


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    Rushton Hurley
    Nonprofit Executive Director
    Next Vista for Learning
    ------------------------------

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  • 9.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Community Champion
    Posted 10 days ago
    Thank you, I was able to check it out. I like how your program covers all grade levels. Bravo !

    Denise

    ------------------------------
    Denise Wright, M.Ed.
    STEM Educator
    Ocean Bay Middle School
    @DenisecWright
    ------------------------------

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  • 10.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Community Champion
    Posted 10 days ago
    Thanks for the kudos!

    Another in that series is one posted yesterday called Activities Across Grade Levels - Tips and Tricks for Using Zoom and Stuff Like It. It's currently at the top of this page, and it might be helpful, as well.

    The idea was to talk about using tools like Zoom, Meet, and Jitsi in ways that draw in the learner, and Ben Cogswell (Kinder Rockets guy) and I shared plenty along those lines.

    Best wishes,
    Rushton

    ------------------------------
    Rushton Hurley
    Nonprofit Executive Director
    Next Vista for Learning
    ------------------------------

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  • 11.  RE: Seeking resources for building relationships in an online classroom

    Community Champion
    Posted 10 days ago
    Edited by Denise Wright 6 days ago
    Sure, I will check it out, but, although, I have learned each online video platform is different. Some are definitely better for live teaching and learning than others, I think I have used them all, Zoom, Google Meet, WebEx, BlackBoard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, and  the Big Blue Button ( if they still have that one).

    Cheers, Denise

    ------------------------------
    Denise Wright, M.Ed.
    STEM Educator
    Ocean Bay Middle School
    @DenisecWright
    ------------------------------

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