Monday, December 18, 2023

Willow Fuchs, Librarian in the Pomerantz Business Library, describes how she planned her online course communications, and how reflecting on this plan helped fine-tune her approach. Strategic and meaningful course communications help her students keep track of assignments and understand course requirements.

Do Students know you're on the other end?

Bridging the distance

It's important to create a sense of community and connection with your learners as online students often feel a sense of isolation. Your feedback to students on their coursework is a vital link, but coordinating the entire online class’s activities as a learning community can be a challenge. Amid the hustle of the semester, how do you maintain a consistent routine of sending course reminders, acknowledging standout discussions, and clarifying course content? A well-planned communication strategy can enhance your online instructor presence and help students feel connected with the class.

Update your plan, based on what works

Willow started with a plan to send 3-5 course announcements every week to maintain a strong instructor presence. But she soon found out that this was too much. Students felt overwhelmed and ignored the messages. So, she changed her plan and sent fewer messages sent at specific times during the week, such as before or after an assignment deadline. This made the messages more effective and relevant for students. She also sent personalized messages to students who were falling behind or having difficulties. This helped address specific needs and encouraged them to keep going. Ultimately, Willow found mapping out a communication plan for her course served both as a helpful reminder during the semester, as well as a valuable tool for reflection and improving her instructor presence.


"Having an up-to-date communication plan in place helps me to create instructor presence, manage my time, and helps me to ensure students will be successful in the course.”     – Willow Fuchs


View Online Course Model           Download Communication Plan Template


Communication is essential

Taking a thoughtful approach to online course communication can significantly impact student success. Dig into the Effective Instruction Guide for more on the considerable effect of instructor presence on persistence through the course, and students’ awareness of a learning community in an online course. Crafting a communication plan can help you find the balance of course messaging that suits your teaching style and benefits your students. Click the request a consultation button to work with our team.

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