Reach out and Connect With Someone: Why Communication Matters in Education
By Jennifer Asevedo, M.S.W., Faculty Development Facilitator and CTU Instructor
One of the ways CTU faculty members excel is in their communication techniques. Communication is an ongoing training component and conversation throughout the faculty group. CTU faculty often ask themselves, “What is the most effective way to communicate with students? Is there one option that is considered the best method? What form of communication was effective when I was a student?” These are just a few examples of what faculty members consider as they attempt to improve communication, connect with their students and ultimately enhance the learning process.
Get to Know Each Other
While considering avenues for reaching out, our faculty members realize that there is probably not one best way to work with students. One valuable technique, however, is to learn more about the students. Instructors will spend time getting to know their classes. What are students’ majors? What is important to them as learners? What is the best time and day to reach them if it’s necessary to meet? Instructors know that students may have hectic schedules and limited time, so they attempt to make the courses as engaging and seamless as possible.
Reflect on What Works
Another strategy for CTU faculty is to think of their own experiences as students. For example, one way that I was engaged as a student was to learn about my instructor’s professional experiences. This was often something that directly pertained to my own career goals. An instructor who had the ability to explain concepts in a tangible way was valuable to me. I also recall that I connected better with instructors who provided various examples and had a good sense of humor. In an online environment, this can be more challenging to achieve, but it is possible.
Make the First Move
In addition to chats, there are various opportunities to post communication. I have found that it is best to post information in various areas of the course and to send emails. Another way that I make a connection with my students is by providing detailed feedback in the first assignment that requires students to discuss themselves. This is typically the first impression that a student receives from me individually; therefore, it is an important way for any instructor to reach students. I realize that it is difficult for many students to discuss themselves personally. Therefore, I carefully acknowledge and encourage them in the feedback.
For our faculty followers, what are the specific strategies that you have implemented to reach your students? For our students, what are some of the most effective ways your instructors have engaged you through communication? I encourage you to discuss this with your colleagues, and share your insights. Thank you!
Jennifer Asevedo, M.S.W. is a Faculty Development Facilitator at CTU where she supports instructors in a variety of ways, including faculty training and development. She developed the Training Hub, a resource repository in CTU’s Faculty Professional Learning Community, and works to help faculty manage their professional development. Jennifer is also a CTU instructor with a deep passion for working with students to make their dreams a reality. Learn more about Jennifer on LinkedIn.
Image Credit: Flickr/Dominik Syka