Have You Built a Community?

We are relational. A relationship is defined as  a connection, association, or involvement. Let’s face it — in our fast-past society, it is difficult to form deep relationships. But it is necessary…because we are relational. I believe in the importance of in-person interaction. There has been much written about social media and human connections. When in-person contact cannot take place, one can find many ways to connect with others through writing, texting, phone, or social media services. A digital connection does not replace the importance of in-person connections, but it is a nice way of sharing information when there is a difference in time and/or location.

Building a community is done through relationships. Google + is a wonderful tool for organizing groups of people to share and discuss information.  My first exposure to Google+ was through my M.Ed. course where we met online to discuss a group project.  For the teacher, Google+ offers flexibility.  Conversations can take place at home, on the go, and from any location.

Using Google+ you can set up a community for digital interaction. This community is a group of people that share your common interest. It might be your class community, your department, or family. First, you need to get set up on Google+. Everyone at WJU has Google+.

 GooglePlus

Begin by clicking the small icon in the upper left hand corner.  This will open up Google+. If you have not set up your profile, begin by doing this first.

Press the button on the left hand side that says Communities. From here you can create a “new” community and choose whether it is public or private.  You will be able to choose whether anyone can join or if a moderator has to approve. Choose a photo for your community and add a tagline. You will also want to include a description.

Ideas:

  • Faculty
    • Share class resources together in a common area
    • Highlight classroom achievements or WJU success stories
    • Ask for student feedback on a lecture or test
    • Extend your office hours by being available via Hangout. Example: Create a Hangout visible only to your students. Be available at a set time (7 pm-8 pm) so students can “drop in”.
    • Hold a class meeting.
    • Collaborate on a document via Hangout and Google Drive. Hangout allows users to share their screen.
    • Post assignments and allow for students to get clarification
    • Hold a review night or study session before a big test
    • Connect with an expert in your field via Hangout
    • Increase student engagement before class starts
    • Offer a tutorial session
    • Write positive messages of encouragement – share Bible verses!
    • Post a weekly devotional
  • Staff / Others
    • Create a community for your department to share ideas and collaborate
    • Share campus life events, achievements, success stories
    • Ask for feedback
    • Collaborate on a document, share ideas
    • Give a virtual tour
    • Hold a group meeting via Hangout even if you are away
    • Ask for student input, ideas, etc.
    • Admissions: get classmates/roommates to meet before they’re on campus
    • Connect with alumni – an alumni community?
    • Publicize career fairs. Take photos of speakers and Career Fair displays to draw more students to events.
    • Share Bible verses or devotionals

Colleges are finding many ways to use Google+. Edudemic’s article 30 Ways Colleges are Using Google+ Right Now is a great read. Google+ also created a presentation titled 31 Ways to Use G+ in Higher Education .

 

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