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+.
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.
- 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 .
- Let’s Hangout! (wjuedtech.wordpress.com)
- How to Maximize Your Video Marketing Strategy With Google Hangouts On Air (searchenginewatch.com)
- Google+ turns 2, looking all grown up (androidcommunity.com)