5 Effective Ways to Communicate Expectations Online

Effective communication road signsStudents want to succeed. They want to manage their time well, learn new information, and submit assignments on time. Each online course is structured differently, so at the beginning of the semester, students try to understand what each professor expects of them.

Sometimes, it is more difficult to communicate expectations in an online course. But it is crucial that the professors and students all be on the same page to have an enjoyable learning experience together.

Here are five tips to clearly communicate expectations to students and, in doing so, enhance an online course:

  1. Maximize the syllabus. Each Learning Management System (LMS) has various ways to organize information. In the syllabus, inform students under which categories they can find different assignments or resources.
  1. Make a routine. Students often feel more comfortable if they know what to expect. Just like each class period in a traditional classroom usually follows a certain pattern, it is ideal if each week or module in an online course has a routine as well.
  1. Post instructions. Even if an assignment seems self-explanatory or identical to a previous one, post instructions. This technique will clarify the assignment, mimic a traditional classroom, and put students at ease because they will know what their professor expects of them.
  1. Offer clarification. Make it clear to students that they should ask for clarification if an aspect of the assignment seems vague. Be sure to respond in a timely fashion and address the student’s concerns.
  1. Provide Feedback. Whether negative or positive, beneficial or neutral, tell students what you think of their work. In a traditional classroom, students receive verbal, non-verbal, and written feedback from their responses to questions, classroom comments, and submitted assignments. Since students are looking for these cues, be sure to provide them so that they can improve.

Do you have any other online communication tips?

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