communication

How to Communicate Effectively With Your Students

Effective communication skills are a valuable asset in any scenario, especially between instructors and their students. Are the options for communication provided to your students the ones that best suit their needs? Learn what students say are their preferences and expectations compared to instructors’ trending habits. Read More…


Connecting with Students: What They Want and Expect

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. Read More…


Collaboration in an A+ Setting

Guest Contributor: Melisa ‘Joey’ Bryant, Forsyth Technical Community College (Winston-Salem, North Carolina). Teaching hardware classes, specifically certification courses, such as an A+ course, can be challenging on the best of days. Not only do we have to concentrate on the requirements of the class, we must also make sure we are covering the certification exam requirements. We can be so focused on these requirements that collaboration between students becomes secondary. Throw in the challenge of an online class and it becomes more difficult still. At Forsyth Technical Community College, we offer our A+ Hardware and A+ Software classes Read More…


Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About! … How About What REALLY Works in Online Course Discussions

Guest Contributor: Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins, Senior Professional Educator, TeamUP Cengage Learning Peer-to-Peer Faculty Development. Online course discussions can oftentimes seem like anything but.  You post discussion questions, students post responses, and a few classmates comment with “I agree!”  Frankly, it does not feel like much of a discussion.  Here are three ideas to change that. 1.  Ask B.O.S.S. questions!:  *Aim to ask involving discussion questions, (DQs) questions that bring out serious substance (B.O.S.S.), questions that require divergent thinking and/or evaluative thinking, not DQs that require convergent thinking and standard answers that do not call for creativity.   Consider “In what ways are Read More…


Communicating with Students in the Course of Writing

In today’s featured video, Robert Yagelski, author of Cengage Learning’s Writing: Ten Core Concepts and other texts, addresses the topic of communicating with students about their writing projects. He discusses his approach to evaluating students’ work, and shares how he uses rubrics in his writing classroom. In addition, he shares how he addresses students’ plagiarism (both intentional and unintentional) in his classroom.

What’s your process for communicating with students about their work? What are your strategies for evaluating students’ writing in a manner that spurs them on to success? Share your experiences, ideas, and suggestions in the comments.

  For other Read More…


Tips for Students: Participate with Confidence!

When students feel confident in their ability to communicate well, they’ll be more likely to participate fully in class. A confident student will also display respect for others and earn their respect in return. Alas, many students may feel reluctant to participate in class… yet with a bit of guidance and support, they can begin to build their confidence and become more fully engaged in class. Many of these same skills can also translate into their relationships outside the classroom. In her book The Confident Student, Eighth Edition, Carol C. Kanar describes a number of ways that students can Read More…


Tips for Students: Breaking the Ice with Others

As students start up the school year in a new class (or at a new school altogether), or as they find themselves in new social contexts, they’ll inevitably want to make new friends and broaden their social network. The starting point for any new relationship is the basic act of approaching another person and having a “getting-to-know-you” conversation. But for many, the act of breaking the ice can feel awkward or uncomfortable. These students can benefit from some simple pointers that can help them initiate these dialogues in a natural and engaging manner. In COMM 3, Rudolph F. Verderber, Kathleen S. Verderber, Read More…


Guidelines for Effective Group Discussions

Whether it’s the first day of class or you’re several weeks into the term, group discussions provide your students with the opportunity to get to know one another and see new perspectives as they explore course topics. As the instructor (and facilitator of those conversations), you want to keep these discussions on topic… and keep them from losing focus, losing steam, or turning sour. The good news: by putting some basic ground rules in place, you’ll set the stage for effective and meaningful conversations that leave you and your students enlightened, inspired, and enthusiastic about the learning experience. In the Instructor’s Resource Read More…


Icebreaker Activities: Getting Acquainted

Students walk in to the first day of class not knowing quite what to expect from you or their classmates. They may know just a few people… or, they may scan the room and see no familiar faces. They know basic information about what you’ll cover in the course, but they probably don’t yet know you, your teaching style, or the finer points of your course and its organization. Many of them may feel anxious about or intimidated by all these “unknowns.” To help students warm up to one another, and to you, it can help to open up Read More…


Building Rapport with Students (and Others)

If you’re seeking to create an engaging, dynamic classroom environment, you no doubt want to ensure that you communicate in a manner that reflects this desire. Likewise, you probably seek out new ways of connecting and building rapport with your students, and work consistently at developing and honing your skills. In their book The Challenge of Effective Speaking in a Digital Age, Sixteenth Edition, Rudolph F. Verderber, Deanna D. Sellnow, and Kathleen S. Verderber provide several suggestions for building credibility with your listeners. By establishing your credibility, you’ll establish a climate in which students are more inclined to listen, participate, and engage with you. We’ve Read More…