Certain contexts either F2F or online, in spite of their differences, may favour connectedness or not.
When we think of democratic schools, we know that group deliberations are a common practice. As the decisions are in the hands of the whole school community, conflicts and rules are decided in general assemblies, discussions are held openly and decisions are taken by vote. Usually these schools are relatively small and everyone knows each other closely. In these schools respect for each other’s opinions and citizenship are in their core principles. So the sense of community and connectedness is very strong.
Summerhill – http://youtu.be/KIyaKWeFhDo
Regarding online learning, I suppose that courses that stimulate discussions, groupwork, peer-review, certainly favour that sense of community. Communities have many different levels of interaction, and an online course of 1 or 2 months, may generate a community that will end in a short time, eventually a few participants may extend their interaction for some common interest.
Another level of connectedness may be fulfilled with communities of practice, which extend collaboration for a long time and may have other longevity. Lave and Wenger developed the concept integrating the three dimensions:
1.Domain – A domain of knowledge creates common ground, inspires members to participate, guides their learning and gives meaning to their actions.
2.Community – The notion of a community creates the social fabric for that learning. A strong community fosters interactions and encourages a willingness to share ideas.
3.Practice – While the domain provides the general area of interest for the community, the practice is the specific focus around which the community develops, shares and maintains its core of knowledge.
Interview with Étiènne Wenger – http://youtu.be/63rQ3S8EHoA