People Need People

You need to feel connected online, and so do your students. Give them lots of opportunities to interact with one another and with you. [next]

Additional comments:

I'm always surprised when people assume that online classes are somehow "impersonal" compared to face-to-face classes. For me, the experience has been just the opposite: I get to know my students so much better when teaching online, and the students often remark how much easier it is to get to know their fellow students in these online classes than in a traditional 150-minutes per week face-to-face class.

Admittedly, the standard learning management systems are pretty terrible for promoting real social interaction, which is why I rely on blogs for my classes instead, with the students creating their own personal spaces online where they can interact and get to know one another. Each blog has an Introduction post, clearly labeled as such, so that in a single click from any blog post you can get to the student's Introduction. For a sense of how that works, take a look at some of the blogs here: Blog Directory (not all of the students leave their blogs up after the class is over, but quite a few do).

The image above is another proverb poster from the Proverb Laboratory: Without people even paradise gets boring. It's a Polish proverb: Bez ludzi i raj siÄ™ znudzi — and the Polish rhymes.

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