(from Inside Higher Ed). Building Classroom Community Spirit Online. As instructors, we can underestimate how much informal, class-adjacent social interactions encourage students to participate in class, write Zachary Nowak and Sarah Bramao-Ramos. In the pre-COVID-19 days, the five minutes that my students sat quietly chatting before I put the first slide up on the screen were facilitating the smooth functioning of my classes. But I never realized that until the coronavirus hit. It seemed clear to me that I would have to try to foster virtually something like what happens naturally for in-person classes. My response was to create a series of three assignments for students to do what I called “class-adjacent socializing.” We developed instructions as a longish, FAQ-style prompt for the class-adjacent socializing. We had to reiterate, several times, that these were intended to be class-adjacent events, not class-related events. The goal was not for the students to discuss the class material: the goal was to get them comfortable enough with each other that it would be easier to have those discussions when they met online. Even when we return to in-person instruction, we will continue to actively foster these previously casual interactions.