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Keep Teaching - Faculty Resources: Communicate with Students

Ideas to Consider


Students will look to their instructors for information and clear direction as well as a sense of normalcy when a crisis impacts all or part of campus. Be timely and specific about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety. Taking advantage of tools to broadcast your message (e.g., Announcements, email) will save you time in dealing with lots of individual questions.
Keep these principles in mind:

  • Communicate early and often, but don’t swamp students with email. Students need to know how messaging they may be receiving from the university related to a closure impacts what they need to know related to your course. Suggest to students to set up Flash Alerts to stay informed:
  • Use your syllabus to set expectations about the means and frequency with which you will communicate with students. Regardless of the instructional modality, it is always a good idea to tell students both how often you expect them to check their email and how quickly they can expect a response from you. Define what communication methods you will accept, 
  • Use a discussion forum to share your response to frequently asked questions so all students can benefit from the information. Encourage students to check this forum first for answers before emailing you.
  • If you have specific changes related to class assignments, please make certain to share this information with students as soon as possible.  You may have to modify your assessments in the course. 

Tools to Use

Assessment for Learning