Start With Communication

Start With Communication

It seems there are a flood of blog posts and articles about how to quickly take your course online right now. These often have a listicle feel – listing out the top 3 things or top 5 things you can do to take your course online in a pinch. They are all great, but I’m developing a pet peeve as I look them over… many start with content and end with communication!

I say start with communication

Before you figure out anything else: how you will record your lecture, how you will build the quizzes, how you will collect assignments….

First figure out a way to communicate with your students…

Then figure out a back-up channel of communication, in case your first method fails…

Then communicate your communication plan to your students. Depending on your course size and scope maybe even ask for confirmation that they received the message.

As things shift and change over the coming weeks and months I think this idea of content as king will be challenged. You can have the best content in the world but if you don’t have a solid communications plan and back up plan it will be really hard to pivot.

Details to think about:

  • Mode
    • Think about how you will broadcast messages out to the whole class
    • Also think about how students can communicate with one another
    • How about communicating with individual students
  • There is likely a way for you to blast a message to everyone in your class via your LMS announcement feature or sometimes using your registration system
  • The LMS also likely has a discussion board function and opening a board specifically for asking questions related to “learning in a hurry” can allow students to support each other
  • I love real-time messaging apps like Slack or having a course hashtag on twitter. However, if you have no experience with these tools and students are not already established in them there is no shame in drawing a line there. There is a difference between “online learning in a hurry” and well thought out in advance and thoughtfully designed online learning.