In this article, Senegal Alfred Mabry, a senior policy analyst at the Hunt Institute, offers a reflection about how colleges plan to welcome students back for the fall semester—while preparing for a possible second outbreak of the coronavirus that would force classes back online–one thing is for sure: Community is more important than ever. Colleges don’t need new platforms or technology to build community or welcome students. They need to invest in infrastructure that builds relationships. Learning communities—where students work together with a common goal, purpose, or interest—are colleges’ best tool to make online learning hands-on learning.
College administrators can make the transition to online learning communities in the same way, getting students passionate about a topic, then using their ideas to drive what the learning community can do virtually.