While online courses pose a number of difficulties for teachers and students, the reality is that they are becoming increasingly popular among departments. I’ll be teaching online courses for the first time this fall, and I am particularly concerned about how I can best engage a group of students whose interaction will be completely virtual. I will be using the Desire to Learn (D2L) system through the University of South Dakota—a technology similar to Blackboard. I also have the option to use Elluminate, a system which allows for live classroom discussions as well as a forum for pre-recorded lectures (with power-points and other images). I have used discussion boards (through Blackboard) in conjunction with on-campus courses before and found them to be useful. But I am still looking for suggestions for how to best facilitate community, engagement, and free discussion in a strictly online course. Can anyone offer suggestions or lessons learned from personal experience?