Scenario 1B - Fostering students’ socialization
Especially if are working with an entirely online course, an initial socialization activity should always be used to open the course. Socialization in this context means with peers, but also with the learning environment as a whole. One possibility is to propose an ice-breaking activity at the very beginning of the course (e.g., a plenary discussion), asking students to introduce themselves to others, possibly asking them to describe their background and expectations for the course. This will allow teachers to get to know them, but will also allow them to familiarize as a group and to create a friendly climate, especially in view of future collaborative activities.
It is also advisable to introduce some gamification elements in this phase, for example by proposing metaphors, storytelling elements, etc. (see also T10 “How can I support my students’ motivation and engagement?” for further suggestions about this).
FORUM. These types of socialization activities are usually carried out via asynchronous communication tools, for example in Forums. Watch the following video to learn how to set up a forum.
Below you can find an example of a message in a Forum, aimed to launch a socialization activity.
WEBINAR. Of course, you can also consider launching your course, as well as the socialization activity, during a synchronous event (e.g, a webinar).
Watch the following video, to learn how to set up a webinar.
COMMUNITY. Moreover, it is important that your students continue this socialization and network throughout (and even more at the end of) the course, you might consider fostering the creation of informal networking among them. In this case, you can trigger students to join existing groups or communities already active on the social media, or to use the specific OOT functionality, called OOT Community. Watch the following video to learn how it works.
If you want to learn more about how to support informal networking among your students, you can follow the link: T8 “How can I support non only formal, but also non-formal and informal learning?”.