IT Teaching Resources

Building community and trust throughout the quarter

A collection of community and relationship building activities to use throughout the quarter

Use Case Promising practices

This is the one of three resources on building community remotely. Please refer to the other resources for information on building community before the quarter begins and during the first day of class.

Building culture and relationships is an ongoing activity throughout the quarter. Structuring classes to maximize learning and to foster relationships is key to ensuring students and teachers get as much as possible out of this class.  

Structure class to build rapport and maximize learning

  • Outside of class work – Expect students to complete work outside of class, reserving video conferencing for richer discussions, Q&A, and active learning. Limit video conferencing time to ensure maximum attention. 
  • Small group discussion – Throughout video conferencing time, build in multiple avenues for small-group discussion, such as a regular check-in and icebreaker at the start, small group discussions in the middle, and a wrap-up discussion to allow students to stay online and work as long as they want. 
  • Class breaks – During class breaks, send students to Breakout Rooms to allow them to chat with one another as they might during a coffee break in regular class. 
  • Asynchronous participation – Use outside of class time, such as written journals or discussion boards with regular participation, to allow students to be in written dialogue with one another and you.

Plan Regular Community Building Activities 

  • Checking in with students – Begin class with a check in question unrelated to course content. Use PollEverywhere or a simple survey to check for understanding or to learn how students are doing socially and emotionally. 
  • Outside of class interaction – Build in avenues for students to have discussions with you outside of class, through 1:1 meetings in office hours, pre-set places for students to submit questions on material, or interactive Canvas Discussion Boards with both you and other students responding. 
  • Office hours – Actively encourage students to schedule appointments to meet you for office hours, and use this time both to get to know the student and to provide feedback and support. 
  • Presenting material and giving feedback – Use interactive ways to give feedback or present material, such as recording assignment feedback on your computer, or Screencastify which also allows you to record lectures (example of feedback).

Encourage students to get to know another outside of class

  • Meeting outside of class hours – Encourage students to get to know one another outside of class. Assign small group work that enables them to work on class assignments together, and suggest that students create an all-class Whatsapp or Slack group. Encourage students to have virtual Happy/Coffee Hours or discussion groups to continue getting to know one another.