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Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching at JMU

Class Communication Strategies

Communication is especially important when teaching in online and hybrid modes.

Why should I proactively discuss communication strategies and policies with students?

Clear and timely communication will help reduce uncertainty and begin to cultivate the sense of connection that is so critical to learning in a remote teaching environment. As you set expectations, be mindful of students who may have different levels of disruption and access to technology. We have also created an online learning guide for Students that includes communication strategies in the section titled Simple Steps to Success in Remote Learning.

How much information should I provide students regarding communication with me?

The amount of personal information you provide is your choice. The university does not suggest, expect, or require you to disclose any personal information.

How can I manage appointment booking with Canvas & Webex?

Follow this tutorial to see how an instructor books time slots and students reserve appointments.

What are effective and efficient ways to communicate with students outside of class?

Remember that students may be experiencing disruption, so providing low-tech communication channels may reduce communication barriers. Each of the following technologies can be used to promote and sustain effective online communication:

  • E-mail, Canvas Inbox, phone, instant messaging (IM)

    • Students may have Canvas notifications turned off. MYMADISON is the best way to ensure students receive an email directly from you.

  • Your JMU voicemail can be regularly changed so that students can receive updates by calling in.

  • WebEx can be used to facilitate synchronous online communications.

  • Google Hangout: voice and video chat from your desktop or Gmail. (See Google Hangout help for more information. The size limit is 25 participants.)

How can I build or maintain the course community in an online environment?

Frequent and low-barrier means of communication will help build a strong online learning community.

  • Responsiveness and regular communications will demonstrate your commitment to fostering a trusting and supportive learning environment.

  • Interactive assignments (e.g. Canvas discussion boards) will help students stay connected with peers.

  • Create activities that foster reflection and experiential engagement when possible.

  • Be mindful of teaching strategies that will promote sustainable learning engagement throughout the course.

  • Provide guidance, feedback, motivational support, and direction so that students remain focused on the learning objectives of the course and you able to monitor their progress.


Find more topics in this guide on the A-Z Page List or in the menu.