BEST PRACTICES: Student Online Collaboration for Learning "Soft" Skills
I teach three sections of an introductory class (two brick-and-mortar, one online) dealing with communication using graphics. I've had a bit of training on how to help students learn, develop, and practice skills that are most sought by employers: Soft Skills or aka Employability or Life Skills.
I do this with a team project or two all sections, but the online class is difficult to do as many of the students seemed disconnected. My job is to connect them with discussion forums, group emails, online webinars, but I am not there physically to oversee their activities.
QUESTION: what are some of the best practices to help students develop Soft Skills (teamwork, cooperation & collaboration, creative thinking, communication, problem-solving skills) in an online environment?