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August 05, 2020

Fostering a Strong Community in a Virtual Classroom

Source: Edutopia | Repost Fight for Life Foundation 8/5/2020 –

One of my friends, a classroom physics teacher, was asked to teach an online physics course. Many of the students dropped the course midterm, and it was not offered again. When I asked what happened, my friend said the class failed because he began without establishing a strong class culture, diving right into physics. He assumed that the culture he had worked so hard to build in his classroom was already present.

In a traditional classroom, there are some pretty standard practices that most teachers use to build the desired culture. In shifting to online learning, these strategies rarely transfer perfectly. In my years of teaching virtually, I found that culture can be built in the online setting, but it requires different strategies based on trust, respect, and responsibility.

These are the steps I use to build a strong classroom culture online.


If you have already begun your online course—as most teachers have at the moment—identify the current culture you have in the digital space, which consists of taking inventory of what is or is not happening. Ask yourself questions like:

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