The way you design the beginning of your course can lay the groundwork for successful collaborative learning experiences. In this MicroCourse, you will create an activity to help participants become acquainted and feel motivated to continue learning together. Then invite others to DO IT.

This course takes place over 5 days, with a bit of spill over into the weekend to tie up loose ends. The idea is to provide a supportive environment for you to ask questions, take risks, offer advice, and have fun.

You will leave this course with:

  • new ideas and skills for creating community building activities
  • a first draft, with feedback
  • experience engaging in a community building activity


Participants should expect to spend at least 5 hours for course activities during the week. Those with no prior online teaching and learning experience can expect to invest more time. Active participation will make this course successful for everyone! 

Research Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by end of day Monday

Step 1 - What? Try it!

What exactly is a community building activity?

Learn by doing - we’ve prepared an activity for you called situating ourselves.

Step 2 - Why?

Consider the advantages of integrating community building activities into your curriculum.

  • Is cultivating a community of learners a priority in your discipline?
  • Will this contribute to motivation? engagement? retention? learning?
  • What are other advantages you would list here?

Step 3 - What have others done?

Have you come across community building activities in your own learning and teaching? What caught your attention? Is there something new you would like to try?

We have started to compile examples. Please add to the list!

Step 4 - Consider the use of community building activities from different perspectives and contexts.

Community building activities have different challenges and advantages for faculty and students. Wear both hats while you consider these questions:

  • What do you need to consider when designing and implementing community building activities?
  • How will your community building activity be adapted to fit your learner audience, your learning environment (synchronous, asynchronous, blended), and your subject matter?
  • How will community building activities change your course experience?

What else do you need to consider in your context?

  • How do you develop community cohesion while respecting differences?    
  • Does community building work differently online? or are only the tools different?
  • Is community building different in different cultures?
  •  How can you build community in a self-paced online course, in which 2 students may never be studying the same thing at the same time?

Step 5 - Consider how you will use community building activities in your course

Each context is different, and there is probably more than one way you can integrate community building activities into the curriculum. Refer back to step 3, and choose one or two you would like to explore further.

Step 6 - What is your starting point in designing a community building activity?

  • I found the perfect community building activity and will use it as is. Here's why.
  • I found a good community building activity but will modify it. Here’s how.
  • I will start from scratch and create a community building activity. Here’s my plan.
  • I will wait and create a community building activity with my students. Here's how I will guide that activity.

Creation Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by end of day Wednesday

Step 7 - Do it!

Now that you have considered why and how you will create a community building activity for the beginning of your course, you're ready to create your first draft. Provide activity instructions as you would for your own learners. Optional: If you have everything ready to go, you may choose to invite the FLO MicroCourse participants to engage in the activity. 

Step 8 - Post it

Post your community building activity to Sharing and Feedback following the instructions in the forum description.

Review and Feedback Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by midday Friday

Step 9 - Review others and give feedback

Review the fabulous community building activities submitted to the forum and select a couple to offer some specific, constructive feedback.

Some guiding questions are offered in the Sharing and Feedback forum. Use the MicroCourse feedback rubric to guide your feedback!

Step 10 - Reflect, and refine your draft

Did you receive some tips on how to improve your community building activity? Do you have further comments and questions? Feel free to revise and share!

Last modified: Monday, 29 October 2018, 7:10 AM