Communication & Participation – Encouraging Participation

To foster student participation, instructors should focus on both the course design features (before the course starts) and their own teaching techniques (as the course proceeds).

For example, before the course starts, instructors should:

  • Provide clear guidelines regarding how to use the technology and where and when the discussions take place.
  • Provide clear participation expectations for individuals and groups.
  • Make discussions a significant part of the grade using clear feedback criteria, such as rubrics.

And as the course proceeds instructors should:

  • Frequently communicate with the class in order to maintain an active presence within the course and to set expectations for communication.
  • Respond to student communications in a timely manner.
  • Recognize when a student might be falling behind and send a private email about it.
  • Try to be as understanding as possible when a student gives an excuse for missing part of the course, but exercise fairness when dealing with requests for exceptions.
  • Always respond considerately, and be sensitive to different communication styles and varied cultural backgrounds.

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