Best Practices in Choosing Appropriate Communication Channels
- Think about the purpose of the communication channels and the learning community you want to foster.
- You may choose to establish a few asynchronous channels, such as a Class Q&A channel, to address all course content or logistic questions, and some dedicated channels for content-specific discussions.
- Consider creating a class-specific email address for students to send their personal inquiries, which can be monitored by your TAs, too.Consider synchronous communication channels (such as office hours) using Zoom.
- Be mindful that there are pros and cons about using social media platforms in the context of learning, and engage in social media channels appropriately.
Best Practices in Managing Communication Channels
- Provide clear guidelines for your TAs who will be monitoring some of the channels.
- Establish clear expectations as to how responsive you or your TAs will be in responding to questions: a response window of between 24/48 hours is generally recommended.
- Establish a process or protocol on how TAs should respond to questions in the forum.
- If you would prefer to answer categories of content-specific questions yourself, ensure TAs inform you about those questions when they arise.
- Establish clear communication etiquette.
- Make sure you act quickly if there are troubling posts that are disruptive to your learning community.
- Maintain a constant presence in the communication channels.
- It is important for students to know your presence in the communication channels, whether it means that you send out announcements every now and then or choose to respond to important questions in a forum. Your presence is critical to the learning community as well.
- Recognize outstanding contributors and promote those students in some form of recognitions (either through announcement or other communication channel)
- Encourage students to bring in their own questions/problems/real-world issues they are dealing in their work.
- Specific Activities That Promote Online Discussions
- Butz, N. T. & Stupnisky, R. H. (2017). Improving student relatedness through an online discussion intervention: The application of self-determination theory in synchronous hybrid programs. Computers & Education, 114(2017), 117-138.
- Gonzalez, Eric B. (2020, Oct 7). Managing the chat in online teaching: What we can learn from live streamers. Faculty Focus.
- Mehall, S. (2020). Building interpersonal interaction in online learning: What is it and how is it measured? Online Learning Journal, 24(1), 182-204. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1249281.pdf