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Building a Sense of Community in Online Courses

Building a sense of community in an online environment is beneficial for students that want to feel connected to other learners. When students feel they are part of a community they interact with each other and feel connected to other participants which helps them form a sense of identity to their work, products, or each other. Research by Maxwell and Shackelford (2012) study which online activities within a classroom builds a sense of community.  An online sense of community can be defined as, “a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together ” (McMillan & Chavis, 1986, p. 9).   Students feel a sense of identity and often share similarities in goals.  Engaged students have something called cognitive presence. Cognitive presence develops when people have sustained communication and they can collaborate to explore, construct