Picture resource from: ViewSonic. (2020)
How can educators effectively build relationships by encouraging safe communication and interactions in online & open learning spaces?
A safe space is important for educators to communicate and have interactions, especially in the online environment. In such a private community, educators and professors can discuss questions regarding course topics with students; students can talk interesting and fun topics in their lives with each other.
To build relationships in an online environment, the most important thing I think is making students feel they are connected and supported, they are members of their communities. Pair and group work is helpful to encourage students to get familiar with their peers and increase connections among students even though they only interact with each other in the virtual world (Literacy Online, n.d.). After connecting students, motivating students to take part in course activities, and helping them to build confidence in the course materials are beneficial to students’ success. Being enthusiastic about teaching and adjusting teaching methods are useful strategies teachers can do to provide their students with motivation (Literacy Online, n.d.).
In general, in such a safe online & open learning environment, students and their professors can establish good relationships like friends; students can also find the one who has the same interests and they do not feel lonely when they are learning facing the screens.
What did I already know?
Recalling my experience of online & learning spaces, I felt great when I was taking some courses in the summer using Discord. All my classmates could discuss course materials there and post anything we feel interesting, what we talked most were how do we effectively learn online and how to stay safe because of the COVID-19. There were many virtual study rooms for students to collaborate with similar functions like Zoom; these study rooms are helpful when we needed to work on a group project or prepare for tests. Overall, because of some applications like Discord and Zoom supporting an online and open learning space for students and professors, I did not feel really tough or frustrated when we had to stay at home and had distance learning.
What do I know now based on the course readings and activities?
For now, I realized that the safety and privacy of these online & open learning spaces could cause some concerns when people are speaking in these spaces. They might worry about the disclosure and abuse of their personal information and public posts. I think that is the reason why our social space is password protected and we are not allowed to share related sites with others who are not in our section. Only when all educators, including students and teachers, are in an environment that protects their personal information and network security, will they be more willing to open up themselves in open online learning spaces and strengthen their connection with each other, thereby establishing strong and stable relationships.
What do I hope to learn?
Currently, I would like to learn what and how can we do if our personal data is disclosed through some websites that will collect our information. Also, as technology plays a vital role in establishing online learning spaces, how do we choose the best tool to use when creating online learning communities. And if there are complaints about the complexity and technical issues of the selected tool, what will the educators do to make users feel more comfortable participating in online communities.
Creating a Safe and Supportive Learning Environment – Literacy Online. (n.d.). Retrieved September from https://sites.google.com/site/literacyonline/support/creating-a-safe-and-supportive-learning-environment
ViewSonic. (2020). Virtual Classroom: The Future of Distance Learning. Retrieved from https://www.viewsonic.com/library/education/virtual-classroom-the-future-of-distance-learning/