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Communicate Clearly and Quickly

Best Practices

Email:

  • Respond to student emails daily. Students need to know that they are being heard and that their questions are important.
  • Send emails on a biweekly or weekly basis to every student to remind them of due dates for that week. You may want to include what they should have already accomplished, what is due and remind them that you are available to meet with them one-on-one as often as they feel it's necessary.
  • Post quick, friendly responses to emails and questions.
  • Construct emails and feedback that compel the students to respond, thereby engaging them in further conversation or thought. For example, "Your voice was very strong. I wonder if you speak from personal experiences."
  • Give students repeated reminders of what is due through email which will help them start thinking about how to function in the professional world.
  • Check in with students who haven't been heard from lately, or who are late with assignments.

Written Instructions:

  • Make sure that instructions are clear, concise, and in an obvious place in your Blackboard site.
  • Use proper grammar and syntax; model the style that you prefer students to use.
  • Let instructions “cool” off one day after you’ve written them. Then try to follow your own directions or ask another person to try to follow them before publishing them for students.

Announcements:

  • Post new information you want your students to get before the next face-to-face meeting on the Announcements page and send it via email to “all users.”
  • Post weekly Announcements that correspond to the assignments for that week.

Virtual Office Hours:

  • At the beginning of each semester decide what times work best for you to be available for online synchronous office hours.
  • Use Skype, Blackboard’s Virtual Classroom, IM, or similar Web tools to enter a virtual classroom and chat.

Student-to-Student Advice:

  • At the end of a semester, have students write “letters of advice” to future hybrid students. Post the letters on your Blackboard site.

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