A Solution Laboratory: Developing Ways for Our Online and On-Campus Students to Connect and Engage With Each Other

Concurrent Session 7

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The educational landscape has shifted. Online and on-campus learners are no longer separate; however, the importance of community remains. Students need to connect with each other, faculty, and the campus. Join us in identifying obstacles and discovering solutions for creating community among our online and on-campus students.


Rebekah Grosboll has worked in higher education for the past 17 years, and has experience in online education, program evaluation, and designing professional development trainings and seminars. She is currently an online program coordinator for three online degree programs at the University of Illinois Springfield. Her research interests include programmatic approaches to online learning, creating constructivist learning environments, and program evaluation.

Extended Abstract

The educational landscape has shifted.  No longer are online and on-campus classes and programs separate.  Our online courses include both our online students and our on-campus students and many of our programs are offering remote and HyFlex Model courses.  Although many things have changed over the last couple of years, the importance of connections have not.  Whether online or on-campus, the need for students to connect with each other, faculty, and the campus are still relevant.  Student connections matter both in terms of student success, retention, and their professional network.  So how can we develop ways for our online and our on-campus students to connect in meaningful ways?   Join us in a solution laboratory, where we identify obstacles to creating community with our online and on-campus students and work together to discover workable solutions. 

In our solution laboratory, we’ll identify the obstacles we face in creating community with our online and on-campus students, we’ll brainstorm strategies to address these obstacles, and then collaborate together to discover workable solutions.  This session will begin with a brief overview of the literature highlighting the obstacles institutions face in building community with their online students and noting solutions that have been successful.  Participants in the session will then go into small groups based on the crucial obstacle they hope to address.  Each group will discuss the unique aspects of the obstacle they face and work together to propose workable solutions.  Individual groups will begin their discussion with an introduction of why their chosen obstacle is difficult for their program/institution and why it is a priority for them.  The small group discussion will then move to what previous strategies have been used to address this obstacle and what has/hasn’t been successful.  The small groups will then discuss possible solutions, including the criteria for viable solutions and new ideas and ways to modify previous strategies to ensure success.  The group work will then evalute possible solutions.  The session will culminate with each small group highlighting their developed solutions to the larger audience.