top of page

My Tribe: Fostering Engagement of learners at a Spanish Online University

In 2020, as I embarked on my role as an online lecturer in a Master degree on education and digital technologies at a Spanish online university, I was confronted with a stark reality: students grappling with demotivation amidst the human disconnection that asynchronous learning can create, and more so in the middle of a global pandemic. The absence of human interaction, coupled with an overwhelming workload and personal issues caused by the global crisis, left many feeling adrift in a sea of isolation and underperforming. Some of them did not complete assigned tasks or respond to follow-up emails.

I was determined to cultivate a sense of community within our virtual classroom to help them empower each other and transform their student experience. I decided to include a special forum folder called “My Tribe”, to give them space and voice to relate to each other more personally, not just academically. I launched weekly questions related to the challenges I knew they were facing. Some sample questions were “What are some strategies you use to deal with stress?” “If your emotions this week were a song which one, would it be and why?”.

University student needing to belong to an online community.
Learners were very stressed and an intervention had to be done.

Each week, I also curated practical tips aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by my students. From strategies for managing stress to gratitude journals and emotional check-ins. These prompts sparked vibrant discussions and fostered a sense of belonging among participants.

The impact was profound. Through their feedback, students expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with peers and educators on a personal level. They reported feeling more connected, more supported, and ultimately, more engaged in their academic journey.

Perhaps most compelling was the tangible reduction in dropout rates observed within my course. By nurturing a sense of community and fostering regular communication, "My Tribe" emerged as a beacon of resilience amidst the tumult of fully asynchronous online learning.

As we continue to navigate the complexities of virtual education, let us not underestimate the power of human connection in shaping the student experience. Together, we can cultivate environments where every learner feels seen, heard, and empowered to thrive.


Recent Posts
bottom of page