Reading Time: 3 minutes

(notes – I wish something had come of this, but no one else in my group joined in! I have kept the notes in case I get a chance to give it some more thought later – erhaps when my boss gets to this point in the course).

The Brief:


Encouraging the development of community online generally involves some group dynamic. These could be groups that temporarily assemble around a particular learning activity and then disassemble, peer support networks, study groups, larger class and course networks, social networks, and more. How you foster this group dynamic in your course is up to you, but it is important to see it from the student perspective.

In this group activity you are going to work collaboratively to develop an action plan for a new course focusing on developing engagement at the community (disciplinary), campus (University of Edinburgh) and cohort (the particular course the students find themselves) levels. You can make it specific to a particular discipline or school if you wish, but that will have to be negotiated with your group members. This is meant to relatively light touch, in that we are not looking for extensive documentation, but rather coherent and concise language no longer than the textual equivalent of a page or two. We encourage non-textual submissions as well (or a graph of some sort to support your plan).

You have been put into pre-determined groups. Throughout this module you will only interact with those group members in the discussion forums and to complete this task. You can use the discussion forum below to introduce yourself and begin the task. You are then encouraged to identify a communication channel that suits your group and will allow you all to contribute toward that task. This might mean setting up your own group Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or email. The choice is yours!

You need to share your final action plan in any online space that your group agrees on.  You will need to ensure that your provide clear instructions on how your tutor can access and view the plan.

You will also need to find a way(s) to work collaboratively to develop the action plan. So, for instance you might want to set up a shareable document via OneDrive or Google Docs. The action plan can be in any format you choose, and the design brief in the next section will outline what needs to be included. You might want to review this resource on group writing before you start.


Action plan

We are introducing this group assignment at the very beginning of this module precisely because it requires some coordination on your part. This group assignment is due at the end of the second week of this module.


You are part of a new course team developing a new online course to be delivered at the start of the next academic year. Due to student feedback and high online attrition at other universities, your Programme Board are particularly keen to support online courses that foster student engagement through students becoming active participants of the University of Edinburgh community. You have to prepare an action plan for your Programme Board. The action plan will outline how teaching staff will ensure that all students on the new online course feel part of the University of Edinburgh community.

Your plan should touch of several of the following:

  1. a (brief) summary of the cohort demographics and geographical locations of the cohort as you understand them to be.
  2. a (brief) overview of community specific activity that you will design into this new course, the spaces where this activity will take place, and roughly where in the course these activities will take place (ie, Weeks 2-3, etc.).
  3. a (brief) overview of how the data available from the virtual learning environment (VLE) will be used to support student engagement and foster a sense of community.
  4. an indication of how your plan caters for inclusivity and accessibility.

The plan should be no more than 500 words and we encourage you to use a range of multimedia including images and, if appropriate, videos. When you are finished, please share the action plan to your tutors or to the Padlet below. You can also access the Padlet  below at the end of the second week.