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Discussion Question Two: Communication

Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Darren Sudlow - Thursday, 3 May 2012, 7:49 PM

What sorts of things do you do to maintain good lines of communication between you and your students and you and the eDean?

eDeans could reply on how they do they same with students and eTeachers.

Picture of Jane Donald
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Jane Donald - Friday, 4 May 2012, 3:23 PM

I almost always follow up one of my two weekly lessons with a group email summing up any points raised and/or giving feedback/feedforward to individual students.  As an online langauge learner myself I hated it when you simply got your assignments back with no or minimal feedback because it is often quite difficult to judge how you  are going.  So affirmation coupled with specific areas to focus on is something that underpins my online teaching. 


Picture of Michele O'Carroll
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Michele O'Carroll - Sunday, 6 May 2012, 9:47 AM

As an E-Dean, I have really appreciated teachers making me part of the email communication between students and teacher. It totally keeps me in the loop. Some emails I simple just read and delete but others keep me informed as to when assessments are due in, absences etc and I can take an active part in making sure something happens. Well done to the teachers who are already ensuring your E-Deans are informed.

1962 Ford Thunderbird
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Trevor Scott - Sunday, 6 May 2012, 11:08 AM

Hi, The most important part for me relating to communication is'are students using the moodle site and how regular do they use it'  This seems to me to be one on the most impoartant part and then comes the group emails, individual emails, some phone calls and a copy of emails to edeans.  A number of my students like to take photographs of work (my be the nature of the work) and send it tio me.  i can see and respond accordingly.  Others fax work to me for checking etc.  Good communication between edeans and teachers is essential.

Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by anne williams - Monday, 7 May 2012, 10:44 AM

I agree with Michelle- as an eDean I really appreciate it when eTeachers copy me in to the communications they have with the students.

I try to see all of my students at least once a week and check how they are going. I'm fortunate because they work in the library and I am based there as well. I find that unless you ask them, they don't necessarily tell you if there are problems.

If I suspect any student is struggling then I will try to spend time with them looking over the work. This is particularly important early in the year when they often haven't worked out how to use the teacher's online site.

It is like all teaching- relationships and communication are very important. If eStudents are to succeed they need support and they need to know that someone is interested in what they are doing.

Thanks to all the eTeachers who regularly stay in touch!!

Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Darren Sudlow - Monday, 7 May 2012, 11:57 AM

Thanks for the replies so far everyone.  It appears that from an eDean perspective you need to be proactive and that makes sense.  As Anne suggested some students won't come to you even if they are having problems so it is a good idea to set a routine where you regularly touch base.

Looking forward to hearing more...

Picture of Garry Brittenden
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Garry Brittenden - Monday, 7 May 2012, 9:57 PM

Developing effective lines of communication, both with eDeans and especially with students is vital. I've tried a few different methods in my year and a bit and generally found emailing to be the best method. I always try and answer emails within 24 hours and try and make them less formal so students feel confident and relaxed with the communication. Keeping the eDeans in the loop, especially when students are absent or struggling is a major- and the eDeans I have been dealing with have been really proactive with their students. It is an endless search- but communicating with teenagers is always a challenge!

Picture of Paul Threadgill
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Paul Threadgill - Thursday, 10 May 2012, 10:26 AM

Full communication is essential. Most of what you send to students should be sent to eDeans as well to keep them in the loop and they can easily follow up any problems.

I found being systematic with your messages is essential too. Create a file structure with your emails as you would with the files you keep on your computer. I have built an elaborate folder system in my email (schoolzone - but all email clients do it) that makes it easy to track messages I have recieved and sent.

In the first layer I split Personal from School. The next layer is subject specific and class specific. Other folders contain things pertaining to school activity. The VL folder has sub-groups for each student and each eDean. These are again split to sent and recieved. There is also one for Darren. I have another folder for VL discussion. Only relevent emails are stored (this includes submitted work - a copy of which is kept in the VL folder in My Documents - which I back up regularly) I will keep these folders until the middle of next year for NZQA requirements.

Have a look at the left hand side of this image. The stand alone 'Sent' folder contains messages (and attachments) sent to all students and eDeans.

 Email structure

Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by anne williams - Thursday, 10 May 2012, 10:42 AM

Great ideas Paul- I do exactly the same thing. You can seriously get caught out if you don't keep emails and they need to be orgnanised so that it's easy to find stuff.

Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by anne williams - Thursday, 10 May 2012, 10:38 AM

I agree with Gary that email is good for one on one communication. As an eDean I am constantly reminding my students to email their teachers. I also think that the forums that some eTeachers have set up using Moodle or Google apps or Facebook  etc are a good way for the students to communicate with each other. Some of the teachers require the students to post to questions and that does keep them on their toes.

It seems to me that one of the hardest things for a teacher is to get the class communicating with each other.

I had to laugh the other day though. I have two students who attend one VC class together, although they study in different columns. When I asked the male student to pass on some info to the female one he said that she only ever talks to him in the VC class- not any where else!!

Picture of Glenn Potter
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Glenn Potter - Thursday, 10 May 2012, 11:29 AM

For me it's all about making random visits to the VC room to check how the students are getting on. Nothing formal - just a quick visit when I'm passing by. Quite often I am told about little issues that are easily fixed up but would not have come my way without me visiting.

Picture of Deborah Caswell
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Deborah Caswell - Thursday, 10 May 2012, 1:41 PM

I find that communicating through email is good. But Darren gave me a fantastic idea of using Google docs. This allows me to offer feedback to the students when I have a few minute and allows me to monitor their work process, see who has begun their work and it offers a way of verifying the authenticity of their work.  

I am also in the middle of creating a website to post work and create a discussion forum for the students to communicate with each other and myself. smile

Picture of Maryann Darmody
Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Maryann Darmody - Thursday, 10 May 2012, 9:40 PM

hi, some interesting comments here,  I tend to do somethign similar to Jane, in that I usually follow up my  VC with a group email summing up points raised and/or giving group feedback, and then I tend to send individual  feedback to students. I try to cc edeans into communication with my students so they can keep an eye on what's happening. It is really hard when students/edeans don't communicate regularly.

Re: Discussion Question Two: Communication
by Darren Sudlow - Tuesday, 15 May 2012, 9:55 AM

The vast majority of communication comes from my course in Educo so it is not something that eDeans can be cced in on.  What I do is keep them in the loop on student progress, especially if someone hasn't completed work.  I also use a simple work completion / progress chart which is in my Virtual Markbook.  You can see it on the L3 Classics page.  This allows eDeans to see where students are at quite quickly.

The best thing I have done this year re communication is to insist on having students cell phone numbers (there is one students who doesn't have one).  This has been a godsend, because while students don't always check their email, they always respond to a text.  I have been able to follow up with students very quickly and easily.  I even have them set up as a group so I can send reminders to everyone.  Works extremely well.