Resources for Fostering a Sense of Community and Connectedness During Times of Change 

Open Educational Resources: The following links offer several free open educational resources which span the disciplines.

DOAJ: The Directory of Open Access Journals provides free, Creative Commons access to over 17,000 peer-reviewed journals covering all disciplines. It is a donation and volunteer-supported non-profit based in the UK.

MERLOT: The MERLOT system provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers.

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW): MIT OpenCourseWare  is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

OER Commons: OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources.

OpenStax: This is a non-profit digital ecosystem serving millions of users per month in the delivery of free educational content to improve learning outcomes. There are many free electronic textbooks available here.

The Open Course Library:  A collection of high-quality, free-to-use courses that you can download and use for teaching. All content is stored in Google docs making it easy to access, browse and download.

The World Digital Library: This collection contains cultural heritage materials gathered during the World Digital Library (WDL) project, including thousands of items contributed by partner organizations worldwide as well as content from Library of Congress collections.

Social Annotation Resources:

How to Set up Persuall in Blackboard: is a free web-based social annotation program. It allows users to annotate web documents (such as an article posted online). It does not have the same grading tools as Perusall, but it can offer a simple and easy way for students to read over the same web content and make comments as a group.

References Regarding Sense of Community (SOC) Research:

Drouin, M. A. (2008). The Relationship Between Students’ Perceived Sense of Community and Satisfaction, Achievement, and Retention in an Online Course. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 9(3), 267-284.

Institute of Education Sciences. (2021). 2019–20 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20). National Center for Education Statistics (2021).


McCoy, B.(2021). “In the Trenches: College Student Online/Remote Learning Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Media Education, 12(3), 18-41. JOME-july-2021.pdf

Ouzts, K. (2006). Sense of community in online courses. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 7(3), 285-29.

Phillips, M. R., & Peters, M. J. (1999). Targeting rural students with distance learning courses: A comparative study of determinant attributes and satisfaction levels. Journal of Education for Business, 74(6), 351-356.

Rovai, A. (2002a). Building sense of community at a distance. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(1), 1-16. Retrieved August 27, 2007, from http://www

Swan, K. (2002). Building learning communities in online courses: The importance of interaction. Education, Communication, and Information, 2(1), 23-49.

Woods, R. H. (2002). How much communication is enough in online courses? Exploring the relationship between the frequency of instructor-initiated personal email and learners’ perceptions of and participation in online learning. International Journal of Instructional Media, 29(4), 377-394