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[Courseware Feature Focus] Communication: A Must-Have for Effective Online Teaching

[Courseware Feature Focus] Communication: A Must-Have for Effective Online Teaching

One of the most critical aspects of teaching is forging positive relationships with students. Strong and supportive student-teacher relationships can impact students’ behavior, relationship with school, academic success, and personal growth. As a former high school teacher in a brick-and-mortar school, I spent considerable time establishing a rapport with my students, which allowed them to thrive. This rapport provided me insight on how to adjust my instruction based on class dynamics and individual student needs. 

When teaching in the online environment, it is equally important to establish communication protocols that build community. Online students should feel connected to instructors and each other in ways that allow them to bond, share information, and learn with the goal of reducing isolation that may occur in a virtual setting.

Edmentum’s program Courseware provides educators with several built-in tools that they can utilize to foster relationships and build community in their online classes:

  • Announcement – Educators can use this tool to send information to account-wide users or to specific programs, and messages can be tailored to specific audiences. Use Announcements to alert students of upcoming school events, extracurricular opportunities, grade report distribution, or community/global events.

  • Quick Message – Send section, group, or individual student messages. Educators can use this tool for communicating easily with learners while monitoring their progress. Quick Message is accessible from student cards and Groups in Sensei. In Courseware, we have recently expanded messaging to course sections.

  • Graded Discussion – Customize your course with a graded discussion activity. Students can post responses and dialogue with others in the thread and instructors may then grade these responses. This activity allows students to develop written communication skills, engage with peers, and exercise critical thinking by reflecting on the perspectives of others.

  • Collaboration – The Collaboration tool allows instructors to engage with students in synchronous learning activities and communicate in small or large groups. In addition, sessions can be created with educators. Collaboration includes chat, whiteboard, and document and video sharing, and it is mobile-friendly to better meet the needs of learners and educators. Collaboration provides flexibility to educators to meet, work together, and differentiate the learning experience in the online environment.

Incorporating these tools can aid in student retention and engagement with coursework. Educators can establish a communication plan answering key questions such as: What methods will be used to communicate? How often will communication take place? How will students communicate with instructors? Educators also have an opportunity to build social relationships in a constructive environment, which personalizes the online learning experience.

To learn more about  Courseware and creating your own online learning program aligned to your local requirements, check out our online curriculum workbook that guides you through tried-and-true steps to support personalizing learning for every student.