Developing and maintaining a student-faculty relationship is important for learning. The fact that online instructors and learners may never meet in person makes it particularly challenging for students and faculty to connect. The following video highlights numerous communication strategies for faculty to use to interact with learners.
How to have office hours in an online environment
One of the traditional ways that faculty have met with students is during established office hours. While online learners will probably never visit your physical office, here are some ways to still have that same type of connection opportunity.
Live Office hours: Have online office hours where students can drop in and ask questions. If using Skype, you can actually chat with more than one student at a time. This is a great way to maintain contact throughout the semester. Skype is a tool that allows live, synchronous interaction between faculty and students. Registration is free and it requires minimal technology to use. Webcam usage is optional. Skype can be downloaded from http://www.skype.com. Voiceboard or Wimba are other options found in Sakai that can assist you in connecting with students.
Virtual Office: Create a discussion board where you create a thread based on questions posed during the week, and students can create threads as questions come to mind.
Phone Office hours: Set aside a certain time each week when you will be available for phone calls. This will really depend upon class size, as 30 minutes will not be sufficient time for a large class. However, you could also ask learners to “reserve” a specific time with you so that you can manage a larger number of phone calls.
fcasdweb. (2011, April 7) Teaching Presence in Online Learning. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/9izxQXDgkNA