communication

Creating Video for Your Courses

For decades, the video camera has been a favorite tool of those who want to capture meaningful moments or present their creative vision onscreen. Over the years, many innovative instructors had also found ways to create video that inspired their students and demonstrated key course concepts in a way that transcended words. Now, with the growth of online learning and the rise of interest in the “flipped classroom” model, more instructors are choosing to use video as a means of presenting valuable course content. If you are among these instructors, you are likely also investigating the best tools you can use to Read More…


Communicating With Clarity and Class Online

E-mail provides a convenient way to communicate with others. With ease, we can distribute a memo to dozens of colleagues, forward on a useful newsletter filled with informative articles, or send a message across the country (or world) in a matter of moments. However, as easy as it is to send an e-mail, we may not always recognize how to best use e-mail in an effective manner. Throughout the course of the day, you may need to share information with colleagues, peers, and members of your staff. When should you use e-mail to send your messages, and when might Read More…


Tips for Students: Managing Conflict in Your Group

Though we hope that all projects will run smoothly and all team members will work together with positive and collegial attitudes, conflicts do occasionally arise as we work on projects with others. However, every conflict does not necessarily lead to a completely negative ending. How you, as an individual, handle the conflict can (and will) have an effect on the overall outcome of the situation. As your students work on their projects, they may appreciate some guidance that helps them deal with disagreements in a way that helps, rather than hinders, their progress. In Verbal Communication: Illustrated Read More…


Activity: Effectiveness of Text Messaging as a Communication Tool

Though often seen as a nuisance or distraction, text messaging does have its practical and worthwhile applications. For example: instead of trying to phone a colleague as you walk across a busy and noisy campus, you can send a simple message to say you’ll arrive at your meeting point in five minutes. Or, you can message your favorite store and, moments later, receive a coupon or a discount code. In education, text messaging can also be used as part of a mobile technology learning plan. Read More…


Strategies for Successful Real-Time Online Chat Sessions

For an online course, real-time chats (often referred to as synchronous discussions) provide an opportunity for students to interact with you and their classmates in a “live” setting. They may take place as a stand-alone discussion, or they may appear alongside a webinar or a presentation within an online collaboration platform. They’re also a helpful means of building community in your online course. But, because these sessions lack the visual and aural communication cues present during an in-person conversation, the act of managing that chat can pose a challenge. (And, of course, if things get too far Read More…


Encouraging Non-Participants to Join in Your Discussion

Whether because of fear, distraction, passivity, lack of preparedness, or another reason altogether, some students shy away from participating in classroom discussions. However, as an instructor, you have goals for your discussion times—and undoubtedly, you have high hopes that all students will want to engage in the conversation. For that reason, you probably want to help those reluctant or non-participating students recognize that, just as they value hearing someone else’s ideas and opinions, other students benefit from hearing their knowledge and perspective. If this situation resonates with you, you may be interested in some ideas that can Read More…


Tips for Students: Overcoming Your Fears of Public Speaking

Very few people have the natural ability to walk up to a podium and deliver a perfect presentation without any sort of training—or fear. Indeed, most speakers gain their polish through practice, as well as through dedication to building the skills that increase their competence, confidence, and credibility as speakers. If you include a speech or presentation as part of your class assignments, you probably have a number of students whose anticipation of that due date ranges from nervousness and apprehension to outright dread. And if they haven’t been exposed to speech or performance training, they may not realize Read More…


Activity: Selecting Appropriate Presentation Aids

Though you may not (yet!) be as dynamic as your favorite lecturers, philosophers, authors, or comedians, you probably draw some form of inspiration from them. Perhaps you’ve observed their use of charts and graphs and noticed that you can indeed present data in a compelling manner. Maybe you admire the way they use working scale models to bring their ideas to life. Or, possibly, you’ve noted their decision not to rely on hundred-slide presentation decks in a forum that’s usually packed with laser-pointer-wielding speakers. As a result, you’ve now added new tools and techniques to your repertoire. Just as you Read More…


Preparing for Your Lectures

Though your fall term may already be in full swing, you may have noticed that the students who once listened to your lectures attentively now seem more distracted and disengaged. Or, perhaps you’re a month or so into a new teaching job and you recognize a need to refine the process you use to prepare your talks. If you find yourself in these or similar scenarios, you may want to review some suggestions that can help you present your course material with maximum effectiveness. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, Marilla Svinicki and Wilbert Read More…


Activity: Speaking Up in Group Situations

When working on a project, each member of a team typically works toward reaching consensus on the decisions that need to be made. Furthermore, most people want to minimize the opportunity for conflict, which can make meetings uncomfortable and ultimately distract a team from its overall aims. Unfortunately, at times, this desire to avoid conflict supersedes people’s willingness to challenge a popular idea, because they fear that raising their concerns will brand them as “troublemakers” and disrupt the unity they’d worked so hard to achieve. As Cindy Griffin and Jennifer Emerling Bone state in their text Invitation to Human Communication, group members should “…remember Read More…