LTSE Teaching Online Online Communication

Online Communication

Learning technologies can enable opportunities for staff and student interaction.

Developing online teacher presence, promoting active learning and connecting students with professional networks are all valuable outcomes for blended and fully online subjects.

Synchronous Communication

Synchronous communication tools enable real time communication and collaboration in a ‘same time-different place’ mode.

Synchronous communication promotes:

  • Collaboration
  • Allows for immediate response and feedback
  • And can take place irrespective of distance.

Examples of synchronous communication techniques:

  • Online conferences
  • Chatrooms
  • Student response systems.

Tools such as Collaborate Ultra also offer functions which allow for simultaneous viewing of whiteboard drawings, sharing of images and simultaneous internet browsing, creating a more engaging learning environment.

Synchronous supported technologies

Collaborate Subject Rooms
Get started with using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, a real-time virtual classroom and web conferencing tool that lets you add files, share applications, and use a virtual whiteboard to interact.

Ultra: Group Conversations
If the class conversation tool is activated on a group assessment item, then students of that group and teaching staff can converse with each other in a chat like panel and can also enter a Collaborate session together.

GoSoapBox
GoSoapBox is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Student Response System where students use Wi-Fi enabled devices on campus to interact online with their lecturer and peers before, during or after a face-to-face class. The tool promotes student engagement in an active learning approach.  It has features where students can indicate their level of understanding through the Confusion Barometer; and lecturers can create quizzes and polls, discussion topics/questions. All data can be exported by the lecturer for later analysis and response. GoSoapBox is compatible with a variety of mobile devices such as laptop computers, tablets and smartphones.

Staff use

Student use

Students should not register for an account. To participate in a GoSoapBox event they need to:
  1. Open http://app.gosoapbox.com
  2. Type the Access Code provided by the academic staff member
  3. Click Join Now

Asynchronous Communication

Asynchronous communication involves a time delay in the transmission of information between two or more contributors. Contributors do not need to immediately receive or respond to shared information.

Examples of asynchronous communication:

  • Social media - which allows educators to share their interests and thoughts with a smaller group with common interests. These tools can connect students with the community, professional development opportunities and future employers.
  • Discussion board forums - can contribute to the development of students’ critical thinking and writing skills. Choose a manageable topic with clear scope and boundaries, and demonstrate that you are present so students remain focused.
  • Announcements, blogs, and emails

Students and educators have more time to research and reflect on topics or concepts prior to formulating a response. The history of group interactions is captured and shared.

Tips on asynchronous communication:

It is important that students understand how their participation in blogs and discussions will be evaluated.

  • What are your specific evaluation criteria?
  • Do they need to post a certain number of times?
  • How often?
  • Should they include additional information or references?

For more information on online discussion board facilitation, visit Edutopia’s Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation Resource Guide.

Asynchronous supported technologies

Announcements
Each subject or community site has an Announcements page where teaching staff can post information about the subject activity. Announcements can include text, images, media content, and links to websites and other files.

Ultra: Conversations
If the class conversation tool is activated on a specific item, such as an Ultra Document, then students and teaching staff can converse in a chat like panel that can be seen by others who visit the item later.

Ultra: Group Conversations
If the class conversation tool is activated on a group assessment item, then students of that group and teaching staff can converse with each other in a chat like panel and can also enter a Collaborate session together.

Discussion Board
The most common form of interaction in an online course is through discussions. You can create a discussion with your class using the Discussion Board feature in LearnJCU

Group Discussion Board
When you create a discussion, you can assign groups to help students feel more comfortable because fewer people are involved.

Send an email from LearnJCU
Email can be sent to members of a subject or community via the Message tool in LearnJCU. This tool facilitates selective communication with various combinations of student and staff users. You can also send messages from the class register or via a group under Course Groups.

GoSoapBox
GoSoapBox can prepare and deliver quizzes for students before class, they can reflect and contribute to the discussion in the question section during class and go back and review this section after class. Lecturers may also review the question section after class and release another poll, Q&A, or quiz.

Staff use

Student use

Students should not register for an account. To participate in a GoSoapBox event they need to:
  1. Open http://app.gosoapbox.com
  2. Type the Access Code provided by the academic staff member
  3. Click Join Now

Also check Online Group Work for ideas around group communication.