June Faculty Meeting


What is the goal of communication in your online classroom?

To begin, we recognize that communication within the virtual classroom can be difficult. The lack of non-verbal clues can lead to misunderstandings between instructors and their students.

Think about this: your written words are the primary method of communicating with your students. The way in which those words are perceived can change the way a student views the class and you as the instructor. As an instructor, remember that your words will represent you; all of the details matter. If your messages are poorly written or riddled with grammatical or spelling errors, your words can lose their effectiveness.

As instructors, we need to be skilled in the art of electronic communication, whether it be through email, Croc-O-Doc feedback, or course announcements. According to Dr. Bruce A. Johnson, “Communication within the online classroom can be strengthened when the instructor develops techniques to deliver clear and concise messages” (Johnson, 2010, para. 1).

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A few pointers, coming from an article entitled, “Writing Effective Emails – Getting People to Read and Act on your Messages,” are as follows:

  1. Don’t over communicate by email
  2. Make good use of subject lines
  3. Keep messages clear and brief
  4. Be Polite
  5. Check your tone
  6. Proofread

While these guidelines seem to be common sense, we need to consciously think about the effectiveness of our communication, the overall message we are attempting to convey, and our audience’s expectations. In our line of work, we are not only responding to students, but also attempting to model the types of behaviors we want to see in our students.

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The following article is written from a student’s point of view yet, it has some great tips and techniques to take note of:

The 7 C’s of Effective Communication in Your Online Course

As mentioned in the article link above, here is the list of the 7 C’s of effective communication in an online course once again:

  1. Clarity
  2. Completeness
  3. Conciseness
  4. Concreteness
  5. Correctness
  6. Courtesy
  7. Consideration

As this article explains, using these 7 C’s can improve the written word. Also, remember that modeling effective communication for our students will help them learn how to better communicate in the virtual environment, which, in turn, will benefit them as they transition into the workforce.

In conclusion, “Instructors have an ability to encourage self-expression within the online classroom by modeling interactive communication, which in turn can strengthen working relationships with the learners. When adult learners develop meaningful relationships and strong communication with their instructors they are also likely to ask for help with challenges, issues and assignments” (Johnson, 2010, para. 5). In asking for help, our students communicate their specific needs and, thus, are more likely to persist within their online courses.

Now that we’ve touched on the broader topic of communication within the virtual environment, we want to take a closer look at feedback in the virtual classroom. Please advance to the next page.