Which strategies can I use for communicating with my students on my Overview page in OWL?

Your Overview (Homepage) is the first point of contact with students

Let’s look at elements of the Overview page that will enable you to better communicate with your students.  Consult the associated posting below for general information on what to include your Overview page.

Guidelines

In addition to the regular details of the course (name, course description etc), try adding communication guidelines.

Include details of how you will communicate with students and how they can communicate with you and their peers.

Review an online example from the University of Guelph and general netiquette from the University of Waterloo.

Announcements

Consider making weekly Announcements for orienting students to the concepts and tasks at hand for the week.  These announcements can be set up to be time-released so you can set them up before the course starts and don’t have to worry about sending them out every week.

Calendar

All your important course dates can be entered into the Calendar.

Forums, gradebook and assignments can all have due dates added to the calendar just by clicking a checkbox when creating a new item.

If you click on the date, you will see the individual calendar entries for that date below the course calendar.  If they are related to an assignment you can click on the link to go directly to that assignment.

Welcome Video

Consider adding in a welcome video to set the communication tone in your course.  Students will pick up on the para-verbal cues you give them by smiling and find you more approachable.  Since the Overview page does not allow you to embed a video, try adding a photo that students will click on to access the video.  Don’t forget that you can make videos private in Youtube if you don’t want them to be available for public consumption.  Linking to other important sections in your course will help students find information more easily and cut down on unnecessary communications.

Good communication on your Overview page saves time!

Applying some of these communication strategies should cut down on the frequency of student inquiries about simple details and save you time.

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