Perk Up Your Course Announcements: 5 Tips for Enhancing the Faculty-Student Connection

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Photo: Pixabay/Megan_Rexazin

During this new normal, we are all taking life one day at a time … and sometimes one moment at a time. While COVID-19 has made it harder to make and maintain connections throughout the world, college students thrive on connection within the classroom. Weekly announcements from the instructor help establish a faculty-student connection, which leads to gains in student understanding and the overall online course experience (Jabeen, 2015). Furthermore, active instructor presence leads to a greater sense of connectedness and learning (Shea, Sau, & Pickett, 2006). 

There are a few ways to make announcements in your online course. The best tool for this is the Moodle Announcements Forum. This feature comes standard in the top section of every course.

Moodle home page. Announcements feature is located at the top.
The Announcements feature is located at the top of the course home page.

Consider including these five components within your weekly announcements:

  • Reflections about previous topics and assignments
    • Example: Last week, we discussed ways to classify plants and animals through Lecture Videos 1-3 and Discussion Board 1. 
  • Praise for one or two student submissions or posts that model excellent work (be sure to ask permission before sharing a student’s privately-submitted work)
    • Example: As Tim noted in his Discussion Board 1 post, “biologists must grapple with constant cultural change…”
  • Relevant links to news articles or videos that pique interest and enhance comprehension
    • Example: Have you ever wondered why the animals currently living on earth are the only ones that are still here? Read this article to get a sense of our discussion for the week.
  • Overview of what to expect for the upcoming week
    • Example: This week, we will discuss why certain species reside on our planet through three videos and two readings about this topic. You will also submit a synopsis for Report 1.
  • Your voice! The announcement feature allows you to record audio, so students can hear your energy about the topic (the microphone icon is located in the Moodle editor toolbar). For accessibility purposes, be sure to include a transcript as well. For more, see Tips to Create Your Own Instructional Media from Home.

Exemplar:

“Last week, we discussed ways to classify plants and animals through Lecture Videos 1-3 and Discussion Board 1. As Tim noted in his Discussion Board 1 post, ‘biologists must grapple with constant cultural change…’ Have you ever wondered why the animals currently living on earth are the only ones that are still here? Read this article to get a sense of our discussion for the week. This week, we will discuss why certain species reside on our planet through three videos and two readings about this topic. You will also submit a synopsis for Report 1.”

References

Jabeen, S. (2015). Perceived effectiveness of weekly announcements in provision of learning support to sociology students. The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 18(1), 1-7.

Shea, P., Sau Li, C., & Pickett, A. (2006). A study of teaching presence and student sense of learning community in fully online and web-enhanced college courses. The Internet and Higher Education, 9(3), 175–190.

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