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Learning Communities

NEW: A vision for education and skills at Newcastle University: Education for Life 2030+

What are Learning Communities?

The social connections, friendships and support that students give each other is important from an academic, social, and mental health point of view.

With many of our students studying remotely, the social connections that usually form naturally amongst students in an academic programme have been made more difficult. It can be a daunting prospect, especially for first-year students, to spark a conversation on Zoom or even to contribute to the discussion when they don’t know the other students in their class. Therefore, encouraging social engagement has benefits not just for wellbeing but also for learning. In this resource, we explore ways to help foster this sense of connection in a digital space. We highlight some of the tools and techniques you and your students can use to create social engagement (from simple activities through to virtual common rooms) and provide case studies from people who are already doing this.

Some considerations

In creating digital social spaces, it is important to consider how to make these safe and accessible for all. Here are some considerations to help keep everyone engaged and safe in online spaces.

Activities and applications

We’ve broken up this content into three parts:

  • simple activities you can do in live sessions to foster social interaction
  • activities where you facilitate social engagement through creating opportunities for interaction (although you may not take part)
  • activities that students may already be undertaking themselves or opt to lead completely independently.