Building community through personal essays: Opinion

October 30, 2020
Students need non-Zoom ways to connect with their instructors and with each other, writes Rachel Toor. The author describes using a weekly discussion board to give students the opportunity to write less formal but authentic writing, called the “sandbox.” The students are given a prompt, and then write raw pieces that present students’ best voices even though the writing might not be perfect. Other students then read the “sandbox” pieces and offer positive feedback. Toor describes how the “sandbox” provided an outlet for students dealing with pandemic issues, before giving tips on how to implement the “sandbox” in a wide variety of courses. “One benefit of the sandbox for an instructor is that it builds community without requiring a ton of your time,” writes Toor. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)