Communication between teacher and learner, and learner to learner is an essential part of the learning experience. Considering and planning opportunities for communication is a vital aspect in designing a blended or online unit.
Social presence is important in blended learning as it creates an integration between the face-to-face and online environments. Regardless of the mode of your unit, it is important to be conscious of finding ways to maintain a dialogue with students.
Developing a learning community
Strategies to create a community in blended units:
- Visit, monitor and contribute to online discussion forums
- Reference online forum content in face-to-face sessions
- Use synchronous web-conferencing with group discussion
- Create a Week 1 self-introduction activity
- Create a student glossary (See Dr Sebastian Krook’s case study)
Communicate your unit design
It is important to communicate the design of a unit to the students, why is it structured as it is, what is the rationale for the assessments. Make them aware of your expectations.
On top of providing the unit guide, you may wish to communicate the design and your expectations through:
- an orientation module (see Dr Steve Guinea case study for an example)
- in your first face-to-face meeting
- share a course plan with the students that shows the path they will take through the content, and how various parts integrate with each other
Common language in blended learning communication
|Term||Definition and use||Common media||Benefits|
Sources: Hrastinski (2008); HigherEdIQ (2015); New Media Consortium (2016).
ACU academics speak
In the online classroom I do some delivery of content in short lectures, but primarily through conversation using the different modes of communication the online classroom presents. We use virtual whiteboards where people can write on the whiteboard and we use chat facilities
Professor Clare Johnson - Centre for Liturgy & Prof of Liturgical Studies & Sacramental Theology. To watch Clare's full case study follow the link.
- See the Guide to Enhance the Use of LEO: Communication for more information about implications of practice for the various communication principles.
- LEO communication guide has comprehensive advice on tools for communication.
- A study of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning methods discovered that each supports different purposes, Asychronous and Synchronous e-Learning (Hrastinski 2008).
- Fostering online discussion in higher education (Verenikina et. al. 2017). The guide on this site articulates a set of principles to help lecturers to set up and conduct successful asynchronous online discussions.
Hrastinski (2008) Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning. EDUCAUSE.
Higher Ed IQ (2015) Everything you need to know about designing polysynchronous learning spaces
New Media Consortium (2016), Horizon Report p. 12.
Verenikina, I., Jones, P. & Delahunty, J. (2017). The guide to fostering asychronous online discussion in higher education. Available from www.fold.org.au/docs/TheGuide_Final.pdf.
Page last updated: 2017-08-16
Short url: http://www.acu.edu.au/1143083