Building a Virtual Learning Community

The benefits of online education are clear—self-paced learning, structure based on the student?s schedule, and 24/7 access to course materials. ISD is increasing the benefits even further by bridging the gap between online and on campus students and facilitating collaboration and communication among learners and instructors.

The objective is to create a space where students come together in a learning community regardless of location, allowing them to interact in a dynamic way. The only difference in the experience of an on campus or online student is where and how communication takes place.

To build this virtual learning community, ISD uses course assets to actively engage all students, regardless of where they are located. This may include lab tours; industry case studies and problems; or interviews, documentary-style vignettes, and panel discussions mixed in with the lectures.

Students have access to interactive online participation with course instructors, including the ability to email questions to faculty and participate in web conference discussions. ISD’s goal is to enable students to take U-M-quality courses anytime, anywhere.

To learn more about the College of Engineering’s virtual learning community, visit our online graduate programs page or check out this lecture about online learning on December 10 at the University of Michigan by Coursera co-founder, Daphne Koller.