The Department of Anthropology is dedicated to making sure that our online master's program is just as rich and rewarding as our on-campus program. We believe that an important part of graduate education is bringing students into a community of practice. In order to build community, we have designed several activities and communication structures.
All online students attend a two-day mandatory on-campus orientation before they begin the program. This event enables students to meet each other and their professors face-to-face, and start to build relationships with them. Getting to know their fellow students makes it easier for students to work on group projects together, and getting to know faculty members helps them choose their advisor and second committee member.
We have created a virtual community that enables students and faculty to engage in conversations outside of classes. This kind of informal interaction is an important aspect of professional development. Students can build connections with others in the field. They can explore their ideas in an informal setting and can assist each other with practical matters.
The Cosmic Café brings together students from our online and on-campus master's programs, so that the whole department forms a single community of practice. All master's students, faculty, and staff are enrolled in the Cosmic Café. It is accessed through Vista, and includes discussion boards and a membership directory.
All online master's students and faculty are enrolled in an email list, firstname.lastname@example.org. The list allows students to receive messages and engage in online discussion via email.
An additional email list brings together the online and on-campus communities. The list email@example.com all master's students and faculty.