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Community Engagement in the Online Space: Adler faculty highlights best practices in new book

Stories | 10.13.22

As the pandemic demonstrated, people can be forced to abandon brick-and-mortar places at a moment’s notice, with many turning to the online realm to learn and work together.

But creating and nurturing a fully engaged community virtually has its challenges.

To address those challenges, two Adler University Online Campus faculty will publish “Community Engagement in the Online Space,” a book they hope will serve as a guide for students, faculty, and administrators who want to get involved in community engagement in the online realm.

“We have a responsibility to our students to continue to provide engaging learning experiences and growth opportunities irrespective of their physical location,” said Michelle Dennis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Leadership and Applied Psychology on the Online Campus. Dr. Dennis co-edited the premier reference source with James D. Halbert, Ph.D., program director for the Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

The book evaluates key issues and practices pertaining to community engagement in remote settings. It analyzes community engagement efforts within remote education, online groups, and remote work. One of the chapters focuses on implementing a cohort/mentor model for online doctoral students engaged in the dissertation process. The 320-page book, to be published this month, includes chapter contributions from several Adler graduate students and faculty.

“J.D. and I wanted to highlight the many ways that community engagement may be nurtured remotely,” Dr. Dennis said. “We saw a lot of community engagement initiatives happening within our networks and wanted to get the word out to highlight opportunities for students and faculty to make a difference within their communities virtually.”

The book also further reviews best practices for community engagement and considerations for optimizing these practices for effective virtual delivery to support emergency environmental challenges, such as pandemic conditions.

Covering topics such as community belonging, global health virtual practicum, and social media engagement, the book can be a resource for program directors, faculty and administrators of both K-12 and higher education, students of higher education, business leaders and executives, information technology professionals, online community moderators, librarians, researchers, and academicians.

“We envision this book to not only promote best practices for online engagement but also to inspire individuals who are involved in community engagement to expand the scope of their work to include remote collaborations, thereby contributing to diversity,” said Dr. Dennis.

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