The Virtual Cafe- Connecting in the Online Classroom During COVID and Beyond

Submitted by Jamie Lopez on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

Finding Space to connect in an ungraded, optional online environment (a virtual hallway or "Cafe")

Describe the necessity for this assessment

As we are more isolated and have moved from the majority of our courses at EMCC being offered in person to the majority being offered online, we need to create space for students to connect.

Describe how the practice will be implemented

I have created a Canvas Module that will serve as a "Virtual Cafe" where hopefully students can connect in an non-academic way.  My hope is that it becomes a comfortable space for students to check in, connect, and be inspired.  I also hope that it will inspire contributions and ideas from my students who may have better ideas than I have to connect and share in the online space.

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

I hope that sudents will feel more connected to each other at the end of the course.  I will measure the success of the Virtual Cafe in a survey.  I am utilizing this strategy for the first time in three online courses.  One of the courses is an 8-week course.  I will act on any feedback provided from the 8 week class in the remaining two classes.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?
  1. Detemine if students found the Virtual Cafe to be a positive addition to their online course by analyzing survey data.
  2. Make any relevant additions.
  3. Make any needed adjustments.
  4. Continue or discontinue use.

Meet me in the Virtual Cafe!  As I considered challenges that students may be facing during these times, I wanted to create a place in my online classes where students could connect in a non-threatening (non-graded) space much like they would in the hallway or in the physical classroom before and after class and during breaks.  I hope that it is successful and helps students to make connections! Research is begining to provide evidence for the importance of hope for goal attainment, especially in academic settings.  COVID has caused a loss of connection and a loss of hope for many. The goal of the Virtual Cafe is to address some of this loss.

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
EED 111
EED 210
EDU 236
Average: 3.6 (7 votes)


Becky Baranowski Tue, 11/10/2020 - 10:42am

Thanks so much for taking time to document what you are doing.  I am very interested to see how this virtual cafe works.  I am finding that if I log onto my live online meetings early and stay after class, students stay.  They want to chat about different things.  It has been interesting to engage with them before and after class.  I look forward to seeing your results.