Before COVID-19 turned the academic world upside down, community and connection happened almost spontaneously. Students could walk into a classroom and introduce themselves to the people around them and instantly feel part of their learning community. They could linger afterwards to ask a question or organize a study group. Outside of class there were endless opportunities to socialize through clubs, sports teams, and other activities.
Fast forward to 2020 and, for most students, the campus experience, at least as we’ve known it, has become another casualty of the ongoing pandemic. For better or worse, the virtual classroom is now the place for students to find that all important sense of community.
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Feelings of connection and belonging have a major bearing on student success and their willingness to persist in their studies. A survey of more than 3,000 college students in the