Vice Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation Soulaymane Kachani and Assistant Provost for Online Education Sandesh Tuladhar recently published an article about supporting social learning for online students.
Colleges are a hub for social learning, essential for developing key humanistic skills. In fact, they are physically designed to encourage spontaneous peer interactions. Campus quads merged pathways, dormitories, libraries, cafeterias, and learning spaces all bring students together to foster a vibrant community of diverse identities. Increasingly, this is becoming less effective with the rise of online learning, so universities need to step up to the challenge. Non-course specific online spaces need to be created to stimulate academically-oriented socialization amongst students.
“By providing a platform where students are not siloed into their registered courses, learning analytics could provide vastly different insights and information to help inform curriculum enhancements, as well as academic and administrative communications and decisions. As online students, and increasing numbers of their on-campus counterparts, are engaging more frequently and more authentically online, universities need to meet them there with spaces and tools for both formal and social learning.”