Strategies for Connection and Belonging in Online First-Year Seminars

Date & Time

Aug 5th at 4:45 PM until 5:30 PM


Teaching Strategies 


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As post-secondary institutions increasingly look to offer online options for their first-year seminars, it is important to maintain the features that make these courses developmentally-important and high-impact. This session explores strategies to facilitate student connectedness and belonging through online collaborative learning experiences. In particular, it offers activities and instructional practices that can foster a sense of community and well-being among students who are early in their college careers. As Assistant Director of Academic Engagement in the Center for the First-Year Experience, Claire Barrett led curricular programming for first-year students at UW-Madison. In 2019, Dr. Barrett and Maria Widmer collaborated on the design, development, and teaching of an online version of an extended-orientation style First-Year Seminar. The presenters will share technology-enhanced curriculum designs that engage students with each other and with their institution's mission, values, and resources. Keup's (2018) systematic review of the literature on online and hybrid First-Year Seminars identifies a set of hallmark learning experiences that support students in developing peer and institutional belonging. The discussions, collaborative exercises, and self-reflections in Dr. Barrett's online First-Year Seminar course align with these signature teaching and learning practices. Course activities include: Personal & Institutional Mission Reflection, Campus Climate & Well-Being Plan, Collaborative Values Reflection, Library Workshop Activities, and Campus Involvement Plan. The session will address how participants can apply these social learning strategies in different types of online courses and for different student populations. VIEW THIS SESSION [Mediasite player]