Dear Matt Reed,
We came across your article “Learning Communities and Registration Issues” on the Inside Higher Ed (IHE) website and had to dedicate this blog post to you, because so many other learning communities have felt your pain and found relief in a linkr of their own. Allow us to elaborate.
In your article, you point to three big issues that keep Virtual Exchange Learning Communities from being easy to get started and grow:
Forced asynchronicity due to scheduling hurdles
Getting participants quickly registered and engaged
Easily scaling programs
Linkr platforms were created specifically to break down physical classroom walls to allow teachers and learners to easily collaborate, share, and grow their communities around a shared love for a subject. Since we went live in 2018, Linkr has supported over 10,000 people in various learning communities around the world, including virtual exchange programs that span multiple institutions in multiple countries.
Here’s how a dedicated linkr could help your learning community overcome the hurdles you mentioned:
We may not be able to magically make everyone’s schedules align, so instead we created linkr to work both synchronously and asynchronously across classes and co-teaching. One way we make things easy is by giving educators and learners the power to collaborate around publications and profiles. Learners can find one another, collaborate through reading and commenting on vivid publications and video publications, and even collaborate within linkr.
Getting participants registered in linkr is a breeze. The platform is web-based, so there’s no IT overhead, and educators can easily invite students to classes on linkr. There are options for co-teaching a class or linking independent classes. Each student owns all they do on linkr (and our biggest feedback is how they genuinely love using it). We’re GDPR compliant so safe, secure, and easy to get started.
We make it easy for virtual exchange communities to scale by providing programs with a virtual home base. Even after courses are completed, participants remain in a virtual space where they can mentor new students, and new students can collaborate with older material and alumni, if educators choose to enable this. Not only that, but educators new to virtual exchange can come in and see the outcomes of previous courses and be a part of the learning community.
Matt, one of the most insightful parts of your post is the connection you draw between “virtual exchange” and “learning communities”. We see it the same way - every time students are collaborating across campuses and classes, a community can emerge, if it’s properly nurtured.
Linkr supports all kinds of learning communities, but we love our virtual exchange programs. One of our communities is a collaboration around Sustainability crossing four colleges in Quebec. Another is a collaboration sponsored by the Institution for International Education touching 20 programs in the United States and across the MENA region.
We would love to show you around the platform and see if you think we’re as elegant as we are practical :)
Looking forward to your thoughts,
Gabe Flacks and the linkr team
Flacks is co-founder and CEO of Linkr. As a Humanities teacher for the last 15 years he connects classes from Montreal Quebec with those in Japan, Texas, England, and New York. Linkr started from discovering limitations in technology and wanting to make a better way for Multi-institutional learning communities to thrive. You can read about a recent collaboration between one of Flacks’ Ethic courses and a Public Policy course from Tarrant County Community College here.