Communicating with Your Students in an Online Environment (S|I)
Frequent, clear, and friendly communication is key in an online environment because your students interact with you only through online course delivery tools.
Keep your contact information updated in Blackboard. According to university policy, you must include your name, your office location, your email address, your office phone number, and your office hours in your syllabus. We suggest providing the same information in your Blackboard course. Add a photo, too.
With announcements, you can post timely information and updates. Select settings so that your current message is on top. It's also good to check the box to have the announcement emailed to your students.
Here's a tutorial about Blackboard announcements.
You can send emails to all students or selected from within Blackboard. Ask your students to include the Course ID (e.g. COM101) in their email subject lines for better tracking.
Here's a tutorial about Blackboard email.
Virtual (Live) Office Hours
Use Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, or Zoom for office hours. Treat synchronous office hours as a firm commitment just like in-person office hours. Here’s an article about how to hold good synchronous office hours: Holding Synchronous Online Office Hours
Search LinkedIn Learning (log in with your Cal Poly Pomona credentials) for tutorials on Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, and Zoom.
Additonal information about Zoom can be found on the Zoom eHelp page.