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Establishing rapport in an online education setting

Learning and teaching online is getting more and more part of our every day. Even though it is effective it may get a little bit lonely. We are not sure how other people perceive us and we lack space to establish contact and rapport.

Rapport is more than just a contact- it is the relation between student and teacher that is trustworthy and harmonious. There are contact and respectful communication among teachers and students, as well as among students.


Here are some ideas on how to achieve that during online learning:


· Explain the learning process

Show your students what will be expected from them and be precise about the deadlines. Knowing how the thing will unfold helps to create trust and motivation.


· Give clear written feedback

We tend to use nonverbal feedback more then we are aware- we smile to encourage, nod head to confirm. But online nonverbal contact is limited and therefore is important to clearly state what we think.


· Show students how to ask you questions

Have clear rules about consultations- when to write emails, schedule short calls, etc. Also, incorporate enough time for Q&A sessions during webinars

· Demonstrate that you care about their personality

Include some pastimes questions during lectures and help students to get to know each other and show different aspects fo their personality.

· Encourage students to give each other positive feedback

Organize moments when they may tell/write each other one positive thing about their assignment, cooperation and etc.


What do you use in your online classroom to establish rapport with your students? Tell us in the comments.

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I enjoyed reading this article and I like the suggestion that we should show students how to ask questions.  One of the ways that I used to establish rapport was to design reading comprehension exercises around students' personal interests - whether it was football, karate or King Kong movies. 
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