Communicating With Students

Simple Ways to Maintain Communication with Your Students During an Interruption

It is advisable to communicate your interruption plan to your students now, while you are meeting face-to-face in your class.

Steps you can take right now:

  • Explain to the students how you plan to continue the course online.
  • Demonstrate the tool you plan to use. If you are going to use the Blackboard course site, you may want to log in and show the students how to access it.
  • If you are considering real-time web-conferencing, determine if your students live in different time zones and can all realistically participate. Do they have access to the Internet? A computer? A webcam and microphone? Your students’ answers will impact your instructional choices.
  • Make sure that any solution you choose is accessible to all students.
  • Inform the students how any final presentations, exams, and projects will be changed by an interruption.
  • Draft a communication plan. Determine how you will communicate with your students, how they will communicate with you and how often communication will occur. For example, you can inform students that you will check your email every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and they should do the same. Stress that students should use their Fordham email.
  • Select the simplest possible solution that meets your student learning objectives. Remember that not all of your students will be technologically adept. Simple tools will create fewer barriers to student learning and reduce their anxiety and/or frustration. 
  • Be sure to select tools that are supported by Fordham IT.  
  • Create simple communication pathways. Blackboard is a simple solution for the following reasons:
    • All students have access.
    • You can email your class en masse through Blackboard.
    • Students can upload assignments and have discussions on Blackboard.
    • Blackboard is supported by Fordham IT.

Here are some simple guides to help you with Blackboard:

If Blackboard becomes unavailable, you can communicate with your students through Fordham Gmail. 

Below is a sample letter you can adapt for use with your students:

Dear Students,

Please be reassured that in the event of an interruption, our course will continue online. In preparation, I am sharing our class communication plan. Our communication online will take place through email and Blackboard. I am advising you to do the following to be sure that you are ready in case of an interruption:

  • Practice logging into Blackboard and finding our course Blackboard site.
  • Check your Fordham email regularly for updates from me and the University.
  • Email me through Blackboard, confirming that you have logged in and found our course site.

If there is an interruption, check your Fordham University email and look for any updates from me. These updates will include specific directions about course content, assignments, the Final Exam, and the Final Project. Please know that I will be checking my email every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening and you can expect responses from me on those days. I also want to reassure you that our course learning objectives will be met and that I will make allowances for any technical difficulties that you may experience. Please email me at (your Fordham email) with any questions.