Strategies for connecting with students today are not the same as they may have been ten, or even five, years ago. While some students are open to whatever works best for instructors, others expect their instructors to connect with them via the latest communication methods, and others still prefer only to interact during class. Find out what students say are their expectations for communicating with instructors.Best ways to contact college students

Cengage Learning recently surveyed thousands of students and instructors about their preferences and habits for staying in contact outside of the classroom. We asked students, “What are the best methods of interacting with you?” Students were asked to select all of the choices that apply.

Most (91%) reported that email was a great way to stay in contact. Somewhat surprisingly, that means that 9% do not wish to be emailed. Next after email, 48% of students like to use instructors’ office hours and 44% are open to using the phone to communicate.

41% of students only wish to connect with their instructors in class. For these students, it may be best to make yourself available by providing a number of ways that they can contact you should they decide they do require assistance.

For more ideas on communicating with students, we asked instructors, “What strategies help you interact with students efficiently and effectively?” Many instructors’ responses reflected student insights: frequent email reminders and announcements. One instructor had an interesting suggestion: “I make the students come by my office and introduce themselves to me.” While it may take a little extra time, this certainly has the potential to open the doors to communication for some students who may be reluctant to reach out.

What do your students say is the best way to connect with them outside of class? Share your experiences with our community below.