Teaching using a VLE #3 Let your students talk to you

The 3rd thing you need to do is to put up some contact details so that students can talk to you.

Young kudu with big ears (Kenya)

The easiest way to do this is to put your email address in the course so that your students can email you.  Its also a good idea to post your office location and office hours (i.e. when you are available to talk to students)

At this stage you have pretty much covered the basics of VLE use.  You can contact your students, they can get all your course materials and they can get in touch with you.  This would be enough to use a VLE to support your face to face teaching and you could add in more advanced things when you were ready for them.

However before you go I would just like to suggest one more thing that might save you time.  Add a blog or discussion board to your course for students to ask you questions  – a lot of the questions staff receive are asked by more than one student, so rather than having to email responses to several students, you simply answer the question the first time it is asked and other students will be able to see the answer. It may also help some students who would not have contacted you but who did have the same question.

You may also find that some of your students are able to answer a question for you, thus saving you even more time.

The only thing to worry about is managing student expectations – if you only plan to check the blog/discussion board twice a week, tell the students this!  Work out how much time you want to spend supporting your students and then plan accordingly, you don’t want to be spending hours of your time on this (most discussion boards and blogs have a “subscribe” function so you can be sent emails when something is posted).

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