Why does Community Matter?
What makes your, say, Physics 101 course different from any other Physics 101 course? You do, just as your students make the course different semester-to-semester. In both online and face-to-face courses, it’s important to cultivate a course identity, and to create effective opportunities for student engagement.
A useful slideshow by UNM professor Valerie Thomas, discussing the power of community in the online classroom (though the information is just as germane to a face-to-face course):
Throughout this section you’ll find multiple ways to engage your students and foster community.