Whether it is for an online class, hybrid, or in-person circumstance, using the Learning Management System’s announcement feature with intention and purpose enhances students’ trust in the platform and builds relationship between teacher and student. In essence, it is the online version of morning announcements with a possible “to-do” list. Not only will absent students benefit, but also for those students who may have questions about processes, procedures, assignments, due dates, etc. For teachers, announcements become evidence, eliminating “he-said, she-said” situations.
Take advantage of an available tool- your LMS announcement feature!
First, consider overall goals of implementation: consistency, organized structure of messages, logistics, preview/review instruction, and rapport and team building. Second, employ best practices by limiting the announcements, labeling them correctly, and offering supplemental materials where appropriate. Next, be consistent in posting whether it is daily, weekly, or another arrangement like Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but be consistent. Label announcements with key words before the topic label: Usually Mondays: CLASS INFORMATION for (date) includes a weekly kick-off announcement complete with preview of instructional content, but also on-time reminders, upcoming deadlines, tutoring schedules, expectations and anything that clarifies the logistics of the class. Discern which items need to be in text and which can by linked. FIXED FOCUS contains extended content, questions to ponder, assignments, and related content materials that will assist students in deeper understanding. Fixed Focus is usually posted mid-week. Because students need encouragement, include a Friday label like RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! or YOU’VE GOT THIS! and provide inspirational messages but also places for dialogue, usually a discussion board. Tee-up student interaction by using prompts that allow expression of thoughts and feelings, challenges and triumphs, and motivations within the class. Be part of the dialogue, but sparingly. Finally, be prepared for miscommunications and once discovered, act. Use URGENT! READ NOW label and set the record straight.
Inspired by Dr. Nathan Pritts, Using Announcements to Give Narrative Shape to your Online Course Faculty Focus June 1, 2020
Let me know what you think!
Alison Thetford, M.Ed