Principle # 1: Encourage contact between students and faculty

Principle # 1: Encourage contact between students and faculty

Principle #1: Encourage Contact Between Students and Faculty


Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students’ intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans. Instructor immediacy was the singular predictor of affective and cognitive learning in a study of threaded discussion in the online classroom.


  Pedagogy Implementation

Consider creating a self-introduction video, including seeing the face. Include approximately two bits of personal information, such as your pets, sports teams, hobbies, or something funny or unusual about yourself.  Since many students have pets or favorite sports teams, this gives you an easy area of connection with students. Pay attention to the audio quality, and consider using an external microphone.*

Use Canvas's Rich Content Editor with your laptop or mobile phone to record a 1-minute introduction of yourself directly into Canvas. If you are familiar with them, you could use Snagit, Quicktime, or equivalent instead. also has a video builder with options for a music soundtrack.  Make this video available to students around a week before the class starts.


Consider asking students to introduce themselves to the class in the same way. *

Create a Discussion activity in your Canvas site, and have students do the same as above using the Discussion's Rich Content Editor.


Make provision for online office hours, possibly in addition to (rather than in place of) on-campus office hours.

Use Zoom or Google Hangouts for online office hours.  Note that they do not necessarily have to be video conferencing, sometimes audio-only will do, just like the old-fashioned telephone.  Sometimes a conversation will start audio-only, but you may need to shift to screen-sharing video if the discussion gets complicated. We do not recommend text-only office hours.


The communication policy spelled out in the syllabus should include information regarding communication channels (email address, phone call, instant message) and the instructor’s timeline for replies. Email is by far the most common and easily used tool for communication, so instructors must be vigilant in monitoring and replying to class emails.*

Quickmail or Announcements can send email to students’ SMC inboxes.


Consider a weekly announcement to the class, that summarizes the past week’s learning and previews the next week.

The Announcements feature is intended for communication of this nature, and you can easily embed a short video of yourself using Poodll.


If a number of students are hitting the same barriers or making the same mistakes, post an announcement for clarification.

Ditto above.