E-Learning tools can enhance communication by enabling students (Dengler 2008):
- time to reflect and consider their viewpoint before contributing;
- who may be shy, or uncertain about their verbal communication skills (including those with English as a second language) to actively contribute;
- a chance to improve written communication skills, which is becoming ever more important in today's digital society.
These questions will help you consider how to communicate with your students, and enable them to communicate between themselves:
- Have you defined how students should expect to communicate in Moodle (e.g. forums, messages, email):
- Ensure the contact details of key course staff are visible on the Moodle course homepage - this is a requirement of the Moodle baseline UCL E-Learning Baseline.
- Ensure the People block is on the Moodle page to allow students a social presence and to see who their peers and tutors are.
- Upload an image for your personal icon (in your MOodle Profile) and encourage your students to do the same - they are particularly helpful when scanning contributions on Discussion forums.
- Refer to things consistently using the same terms.
- Set up some form of virtual meeting space for students prior to commencing a course.
- Keep in touch with students during their out of campus activities (hospital placement, field work, etc).
- Students can choose to receive one daily email at 5pm from Moodle forums - and as of June 2015 daily digest emails (as opposed to individual Moodle forum emails) will be the default setting for all staff and students - but you can change this back if you want to.
Dengler, M. (2008) Classroom Active Learning Complemented by an Online Discussion Forum to Teach Sustainability. Journal of Geography in Higher Education. [Online] 32 (3), 481–494. Available from: doi:10.1080/03098260701514108.
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