Top 5 Resources for Communicating with Your Class When You Can’t Meet Face-to-Face
By: Samantha Muehleis
As the presence of technology increases on the university campus, there has been a transition from the classroom to the Internet. It is an increasing familiarity for courses to be offered online or in a hybrid format – partially conducted in the classroom and partially via the Internet. During the recent alert of a pandemic it has become more apparent that classes are not always able to meet face-to-face and that virtual communication is a necessity. Illness, time conflicts, and personal obligations – among other things – keep students and instructors from the being able to meet face-to-face and stresses the importance of emerging technologies. This article briefly outlines select resources for communicating with your class when you can’t meet face-to-face and also references the technology tools repository. This repository housed on the “Technology to Enhance the Learning Experience” web page presents up-to-date information about emerging technology tools that can be used as supplemental tools outside of the classroom.
If a class is unable to meet face-to-face, the use of instant messaging tools is an effective way to achieve synchronous student(s)-to-instructor or student(s)-to-student(s) communication. With text-based messaging and file sharing, instant messaging tools like Meebo can be used to hold office hours while an instructor is off-campus or for advising during group collaboration and study sessions.
For more information about Instant Messaging Tools
For an example of how Meebo is being used by McIntrye Library
With conflicting schedules and other disagreeing factors, face-to-face collaboration is not always achievable. The use of collaborative document tools is one way to avoid a tangle of emails and still collectively brainstorm, merge ideas, and work on a document. With the ability to collaborate online in real-time, collaborative document tools like Google Documents can be used to create or upload documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. With a permanent destination on the internet users can create, edit, store, and share collaborative documents instantly and securely.
For more information on Collaborative Document Tools
Conceptual teaching and learning is usually addressed through classroom lectures or textbook readings. But if a class is unable to meet face-to-face, alternative methods of teaching and learning are available. With the ability to screen capture or screenplay, instructional video creation tools like Screentoaster can be used to demonstrate the use of a program in an approach that is effective for both the visual and verbal learner. Rather than attempting to piece together a manual-like email, an instructor can outline a concept or a procedure - for instance the creation of an Excel document – using an instructional video creation tool.
For more information about Instructional Video Creation Tools
While researching for a collaborative project, students and instructors may struggle with managing a large collection of sources. Attaching documents and zipping them back and forth between instructors and students is doable but may not be the most effective method of sharing ideas. The use of bookmarking tools is one way to sort and tag bookmarks to a centralized source that is accessible to any and all students and instructors involved in the group collaboration effort. With the ability to access the resources from any computer and share and sort through a vast array of bookmarks, bookmarking tools like Delicious can be used to track and categorize source material that is discovered by any group member into a relevant folder. An instructor is also able to follow each group and/or group member to track progress and give feedback based on the sources that have been tagged.
For more information about Bookmarking Tools
Conceptual ideas and core course content that requires supplemental explanation with facts and figures is usually addressed through classroom lecture. But in the case that a class is unable to meet face-to-face, an alternative virtual meeting space can be utilized. The use of virtual classroom and meeting tools creates a virtual collaborative meeting space for an instructor and students. With the ability to upload and share files, host chats, and share ideas on a whiteboard through access to a virtual classroom, virtual classroom and meeting tools like DimDim can be used to host, record, and save virtual lectures. Students are also able to access course content, see and hear the lecture as if physically sitting in the classroom, and receive synchronous and explanatory responses to questions.
For more information about Virtual Classroom and Meeting Tools
Technology Tools Repository
The resources mentioned in this article are stored on the “Technology to Enhance the Learning Experience” web page as a part of a repository of complimentary technology tools. This means that all of the tools mentioned in this article and stored in the technology tools repository are free of charge and accessible via the Internet.
For more information about Technology Tools