Building Community in the Asynchronous Environment; Perspectives across the Campus

Streamed Session

Brief Abstract

Technology and circumstances have opened doors to online education, and there are many reasons why students opt for online education. While online education offers the comfort of convenience, it also brings in several concerns of feeling alone, sitting in front of a device, and attempting to complete coursework with little support synchronously. Throughout this interactive session, you will have the opportunity to hear from different perspectives on how we have brought the classroom to the living room by enhancing our online offerings while building a sense of community.


JeVaughn has a shared background in both education and business. She currently holds a Master of Science degree in Education, Media Design and Technology, Master of Science in Media Management, and most currently a doctoral student. JeVaughn specializes in creating, presenting, and delivering content through various instructional design methodologies, including interactive delivery, public speaking, creating podcasts, video presentations, and alternative learning methods, including games, music, and multimedia. JeVaughn is determined to use various strategies to increase interest through creative instructional design, training and development, technical writing, project management, and software training. When she is not attempting to change the world of education as we know it, you can find her in the kitchen baking delicious vegan goodies.
Dr. Harika Rao is an Assistant Professor in the College of Business and Management, at Lynn University. Harika has been teaching for six years and specializes in Management and Leadership, Innovation, Information Systems Management, and E-commerce. Harika firmly believes that a teacher can make positive changes in the lives of hundreds of people by helping them realize their potential to become productive members of the society. My teaching philosophy has been that igniting ‘passionate curiosity’ in the minds of students is the key to sustained learning and putting learning on autopilot. She takes the students from ‘spoon-feeding’ to a higher level of ‘independent learning’ by making full use of ICT. As the adage goes: a good teacher explains the complexity and a great teacher reveals the simplicity. With her diverse background – both culturally (Asia, the Pacific and now the USA) and academically (Computer Science, Business Administration, and Educational Leadership), she fine-tunes her instructional methods to meet the diverse individual learning styles of students. Harika also serves as the faculty club advisor for Enactus, Alpha Phi Delta, and Hacking student club. Harika has published two multi-touch books, that are currently being used as textbooks for undergraduate courses and the third book is underway. She has presented in several conferences with research interests in acculturation, social impact, technology based education, and disruption. Awards: • Academic and Creative Excellence Award, 2019 • Best Paper Award, Academy of Business Research, 2018, 2017 • Apple certified teacher 2016, 2017 • FATE, Best Graduate Award, 2015

Extended Abstract

As educators and dedicated supporters of providing a holistic learning environment to students, it is important to look at the changing modalities of education, to better serve our students. While the learning management systems, online courses, and tutoring platforms are easily accessible, there is a limitation to the interaction and the feeling of being a part of a classroom with peers or a cohort.  

The online learning environment had come a long way since Nova Southeastern created its first online classroom in 1985, or even when the University of Phoenix began the first accredited university in 1989. Since then, it has been the same online asynchronous course, consisting of readings, discussion posts, and an assessment per module. Unfortunately, in many instances, these types of online learning environments still exist today.  

Unfortunately, it took a pandemic for educators to notice that students felt alone and isolated while participating in these courses. As with many other institutions, to mitigate this feeling of isolation, conversations across campus began to find a resolution to enhance the engagement and sense of community throughout the asynchronous classroom.