Drumbeat (v2)


Use a regular repeating pattern of communication to help establish a sense of community.







MOOCs are massive and so participants may not feel part of a community. Often they feel their voice is not heard, and so they can become disenfranchised and dissatisfied with the educational experience, which may impact on their learning.

In other educational contexts learners can have more regular and focussed contact with tutors that can help to overcome this problem. The nature of massive and open means that to provide this type of contact would become very resource intensive and unrealistic in most scenarios.

Can we create the sense of faculty presence (or the illusion of presence) in the course, without fragmenting the cohort? Can we encourage engagement and increase retention by establishing this kind of relationship between students and faculty?



This is in the context of  massive cohorts (thousands plus)

The examples are based in an externally developed online learning environment with pre-established functionality.

We have all the usual problems of online courses: time zones, connectivity, cultural differences ....




Solution A

Creation of a step at the end of each Week that asks


"How's it going so far? 


This activity is entirely optional, but we’re really interested to know how you’re finding the course in Week x. We’d be really grateful if you could leave a comment or share some part of your experience so far in the discussion board."


The educators and other members of the course team post responses, and "like" participant's posts.

Solution B

Regular summary posts (emails, announcements, videos) from the educators that cluster and address commonly occurring themes, from across learner posts.




Example A

Birmingham's "Good brain bad brain" - weekly forums asking "how it is going"

Examples B

Reading's "Begin programming:..." had regular mid-week summaries written by different educators summarising what is happeing in the course (with some quotes) and what actions are taken


Reading's "Mangaing people" - one of the course team produces weekly videos summarising and responding to what is happening in the course, supplementing an email (as above)

Example C

All FutureLearn courses have a Welcome to the Week email and these frequently contain reference to participant comments.



Crowd bonding



Data and References


Author(s): Yishay Mor, Steven Warburton
Published at: 18 Mar 2019 14:45 GMT
Original link (login required): https://ilde.upf.edu/moocs/pg/lds/view/2166/