There are many simple technology tools available to enhance Student-Faculty Contact. This is one area where small changes can make significant improvements in student learning and retention. … 1. Encourage student-faculty contact
Some of the advantages of using technology in student-faculty contact
- any time, anywhere communication – not limited to class time or office hours
e.g. email, online discussion forums, chat / instant messaging
- record of contact – no more “gee, I wish I could remember exactly what I told that student” as there is a copy of the conversation with its time and date.
- repeatable – once you work out great instructions for a lesson, that exact same information can be given to students in all sections this quarter and in the future. Allows for “refinement” as students identify new concerns or areas of difficulty.
- it just gets better – revising and improving material over time helps keep the course material relevant and students engaged
The primary means of presenting information to the whole class is via resources. There are a number of different types of resources – text pages, web pages, links to other web sites. Resources are the simplest form of passive, or push communication available.
Understanding and using the student-faculty contact tools – either stand alone or within the course management system, is important.
- encourage students to communicate with you early and often
- model desired contacts using the available communication tools
- make it easy for students to select from several forms of contact – email, messaging, discussion forum
- establish limits and expectations for your availability and speed of response
The NEWS forum is special forum for sending information and updates to students. Only the instructor can post to this forum. There is an option to have summaries from the News forum appear on the main course page.
Moodle has an internal e-mail system and several options to keep student-faculty communication within Moodle, that can be used for clarification on the forums and discussions and the communication tools.
Check your profile and the messages you are getting – it may be set up so your get email when a student sends a message from inside Moodle, but there should be information in the email so you know where it originated.
Do you have a Questions? forum where students can add discussions and post? I encourage students to ask their questions there. Unless it is personal, I often just copy the student’s email into the question forum and answer it there for all to see.
Introducing new technologies
You may be surprised to find that your tech-savvy students need some time to come up to speed using technology for formal learning. Students instant message with their friends whenever, but using the same technology to work with four complete strangers (class mates) on a group project is a completely new experience.
Consider introducing the technology in several low-risk activities – introductions in a discussion forum. As students become more comfortable with the educational use of the technology, add the critical thinking, graded analysis component that the technology supports.