Useful for both emergency situations and general course activity, this step provides suggestions on establishing lines of communication with and between your students and colleagues.
Through UBC’s Faculty Service Centre (FSC)
UBC Faculty can email students through the FSC by creating a distribution list (Students can add their email address via the Student Service Centre). Log in to UBC’s Faculty Service Centre. Let your students know:
- how they can get in touch with you
- where they can access course materials
- how they can interact online
Through the Connect Email tool
You can now also send emails directly to your students via the Email tool in your Connect course. See the following resources:
Ask your students to add their email to their Connect profile during the beginning of the term if they haven’t done so before.
Provide relevant information in your course syllabus
Upload your syllabus to your online course space or distribute to your your students via email. If you are on:
- Connect: see How to Create a Syllabus
- WebCT Vista: watch the video on how to upload files (e.g. syllabus)
Enable your students to communicate with you and each other online
Online discussion boards are available on WebCT and Connect. Create multiple discussion areas to organize conversation topics in your course. Add your TAs and co-instructors as moderators or administrators, allowing them to facilitate discussions or manage settings. If you are on:
- Connect: Explore the Discussions area under the Communication and Collaboration tools in the Connect Instructor Resources
- WebCT Vista: watch the video on Creating Discussions
Send Announcements to Your Students
You can use WebCT Vista or Connect‘s Announcements tool to send out important information to your class. Students will see new announcements every time they log into your course. If you are on:
- Connect: See How to Create an Announcement
- WebCT Vista: step-by-step instructions to create an Announcements
Create a telephone hotline.
Turn your voicemail box into a telephone hotline. Simply update your greeting with timely information about the status of your course(s) or campus operations and how students can access your course materials.
Suggested Communication Tools
UBC Supported Tools
- Blackboard Collaborate – Blackboard Collaborate is a suite of synchronous (“real-time”) communication tools fully supported by UBC that enhance interactivity between teacher and students (and among students) in an the online course environment. It supports text chat, audio chat and video chat. You can also use Wimba as a standalone tool outside of your WebCT Vista or Connect course.
- Blackboard Instant Messaging (BB IM) – BB IM is an instant messaging tool associated with your courses within Connect. Once you have activated your BB IM account, course participants (e.g. students, TAs) who have done the same will be automatically added to your contact lists. You can facilitate office hours, start screensharing and initiate a Blackboard Collaborate session.
- Skype – This non-UBC service facilitates teleconference calls with up to 25 people at once and instant message chats with up to 100 people.
- Instant Messaging: There are many free, non-UBC instant messaging services you can use to chat with your colleagues and students, including: Google Chat, Microsoft Windows Live Messenger, Facebook chat, Skype, AIM
- Training Videos and Manuals for WebCT Vista’s Communication Tools
- e-Learning Toolkit for ETEC565 – This page gives an overview of a variety of tools that support synchronous communication.