‘We’ve become a little family now’: Maximising rapport in an accelerated, fully online learning environment


  • Sam Newell Monash University
  • Emily Adam Monash University, Australia




teaching strategies, student rapport, rapport, connected teaching, student experience, online learning, higher education learning


Online learning spaces are generally considered low-interaction environments. The loss of synchronous time in an online course is balanced by additional flexibility. As such, there are limited opportunities to build rapport with students. This is especially true for online programs that are also accelerated. However, students still view opportunities to engage with educators and peers as extremely important. As a result, there is a need to identify strategies to maximise rapport building within a limited time frame. A Thematic Analysis of data sources relevant to teaching and learning activities in the Monash University Graduate Diploma in Psychology is presented. Four themes emerged and included ‘humanising’ the learning space, fostering opportunities for student-to-student interaction, reducing the power imbalance between teacher and student, and maintaining rapport beyond individual subjects or units. The individual strategies that were employed are discussed in detail. These findings provide a resource for educators to increase rapport within an online learning environment.