While reviewing ECAR survey data related to technology use, I’ve found student comments from the survey prompt “One thing your instructor can do” provide valuable insight.
Most of the student comments requested that faculty use technology to communicate more — announcements, due dates, detailed information for assignments, grade updates, recorded lectures, simulations, practice cases and, most important, feedback. Examples are:
Communicate often, whether via email, Blackboard, group texting or other similar modes of digital communications.
Some professors could help more if they were more available online when we have questions or concerns.
Connect us to collaboration tools like shared spaces Google docs, drive,
Post lectures for review
Curate materials, especially videos, interactive case studies, or simulations, for students to use to “accompany what we are learning”.
Other research about teaching tells us the same. Community of Inquiry research defines teaching presence.
… your communication with your students is the most important part of the course. Facilitating discourse and sharing personal meaning creates presence. As you help your students stay on task, nudge those who are not as active as needed, answer questions so students don’t get stuck while attempting to do assignments, and ensure the comments in discussions are accurate and on the right track, you create presence.
Connected Learning principles also focus on the communication among learners provided by networked technologies to be essential in establishing shared purpose in a community of people who work together to achieve a shared goal.
Communicating regularly matters, especially to the students themselves.