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How to Communicate with Your Students

It is essential to maintain constant communication in your online course. Since online teaching is highly structured, and the course content is developed before the course is offered, it is helpful for the instructors to establish a communication schedule for their online courses. Below are some of the items you should consider adding to such a communication schedule: 

  • Contact your students through Blackboard prior to the start of class. Seven days before the course starts is sufficient. At this time, you can introduce yourself and post your syllabus and course schedule to your course site in Blackboard.
  • Incorporate the syllabus statements required by Academic Affairs.
  • Use the online syllabus builder.
  • Facilitate communication with your students through discussion boards, groups, announcements, and email. 
  • Connect students with resources that provide support, both academic and technological.
  • Review the resources available via Blackboard's Academic Support.

Technology Support:

Communication & Student Input

Communication can enhance student learning or inhibit it. Consider the following strategies for communication with your students during the semester:

  • Set a regular communication schedule in which you:

    • Email students with information about assignments or announcements (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and sometimes Sunday); 

    • Provide feedback to students or return assignments; and

    • Post modules or schedules

  • Establish communication channels:

    • Place communication in multiple areas to increase students access (e.g., also post emails as announcements in Blackboard)

    • Use a consistent format to draw attention to assignments, criteria, deadlines, and other information that students need and that might be time-sensitive

Inviting student input can allow for important mid-semester adjustments in instruction:

  • Ensure that instructional approaches are connecting with what students are doing, learning, and experiencing; 

  • Model reflective practice and demonstrate care and commitment to students' success and learning amid challenges; and 

  • Offer students regular (weekly or bi-weekly) check-in surveys with follow-up and responses. 


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