By Heather Wolpert-Gawron
"It is not hard to create a virtual student lounge in an online classroom. Think about what a student union provides and go from there. Make sure that students go there first, familiarize themselves with the space, and are encouraged to return to it time and again to recharge their social batteries.
"t should be a place where everyone can hang out and share, posting, uploading and downloading. You can also create a "water cooler" thread of some kind that serves as just a fun way to build your community, introducing students to each other as members of a Virtual Learning Community (VLC.) It's important to re-introduce students to each other online even if you are a classroom teacher. Students have an interesting way of sharing online fascinating facts about themselves and their thoughts about lessons in a way that sometimes doesn't come out in the traditional classroom."