Studies have indicated students are more likely to persist and succeed in online courses if they feel a sense of belonging (Stenborn, S., 2018). In particular, we need to show them other human beings are involved in their online courses, and care whether they succeed.
"Education is always geared to concrete persons and is meaningful only if the educator manages to live deep humanity and succeeds in entering into a relationship with the specific person (In: Ursuline Education: The Trunk, p. 50).
When designing online courses, the ALT Centre recommends using the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI). In courses where all three presences (below) are purposefully attended to, studies indicate students are more likely to persist to the end of the course, succeed in the course, and express higher levels of satisfaction and self-reported learning (Lowe-Madkins, M., 2016).
Students' ability to build meaning and knowledge through classroom community.
Students' ability to present themselves as 'real people' to the rest of the classroom community.
Instructors' design and facilitation of cognitive and social presences. Students see peers as 'real people,' their teacher as 'real people,' and work together to build knowledge.
Garrison, D. R. (2017). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Community of Inquiry Framework for Research and Practice (3rd Edition). London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.