Resolution: Communicate More

For most of us, email and office hours are the two ways we communicate with students. We may participate in discussions in Canvas, or even use a Twitter Hashtag, but by and large, office hours and email are the two most used options to communicate with students one to one. There are some options. Perhaps this coming year you might offer students another way to communicate with you.

Add an “Ask the Teacher” or “Help Lounge” as a Pinned Discussion forum to your Canvas course.

This provides a place that students can ask a question about the class that may not be a part of the standard content forums found throughout the course. It is a place that you can answer questions from students and students can also answer some of them. Usually, if one student has a question related to a specific portion of the class, some other students also have the same question.

Provide some Digital Office Hours

Using a tool like Zoom to allow students to connect with you may offer some students access to you at times that they are more likely to have available. Many of our students have jobs surrounding the hours they spend in class and cannot make the office hours you may provide. Maybe having office hours early in the evening on one day a week might help those who work during the day. Whether you use Zoom or Skype or some other platform, the point is that you are offering assistance to students in a way that is accessible to them.

Bothell faculty can get a Zoom account at a reasonable price though the division deans. Here is a link to that process.

Provide Your Cell Phone Number to Students (or Use Google Voice)

I know, I have heard the arguments. And immediately after one faculty member tells me they would never, ever, do that; the next faculty lets me know they have been doing it for years and it really helps students. This is a tricky one to be sure. Setting boundaries and rules for students and how they communicate with you is a good conversation and one worth exploring.

Google Voice allows you to have a phone number and get and receive calls and messages. It takes some learning to use it well, but it is an option.

Provide a “Social Platform” for students to interact with you or classmates.

Using Facebook groups, using Twitter hashtags, Slack Channels, or simply a Google Doc that students can access and have conversation on can be helpful. A benefit of tools and places outside of Canvas is that the community can remain long after the course has ended and even extend into the next quarter or semester.

Communicate More Make More Content Ask for Help More Often