Building Student Communities in Spite of the Pandemic

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Viola Ardeni
Sara Dallavalle
Karolina Serafin


In times when the Humanities at large have suffered reductions in enrollments, the ability to build student communities has been seminal to the survival of many departments. Building student communities for language departments in particular includes planning conversation hours, movie nights, and cultural events aimed at attracting students and raising retention rates. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced departments across the country to modify not only their course formats, but also the events offered outside of the regular teaching schedule. In this article, we will discuss the shift that the Italian Language Program at Indiana University Bloomington decided to apply to our community building activities during and after the transition from in-person to an online mode of instruction. In order to translate several events planned for the rest of the spring semester into an online environment, we had to resort to the extensive use of social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. Moreover, it was necessary to find creative ways to completely rethink our outreach efforts while still being relevant. Through a tight collaboration among language instructors, we invented and implemented a series of new activities (such as online bingo and cooking lessons) as well as translated those that were crucial for our program to exist and thrive into an online environment. A Karaoke Project that was originally intended to be the highlight of the academic year presented the greatest challenge in organization and modification; and yet, with creativity and an open-minded attitude, we managed to successfully finish the project with high student participation.


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Ardeni, V., Dallavalle, S., & Serafin, K. (2021). Building Student Communities in Spite of the Pandemic. Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology, 10(1).
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