Regular online communication keeps your students engaged and focused, and course teams that communicate effectively online provide a minimum of three updates per week. There are a number of tools that you can use to provide online communication and you should choose a tool with which you feel most comfortable.
- Topics of communication might include:
- News items about professional developments in your discipline
- Internal UCA events e.g. workshops, Careers events, guest lectures
- External events e.g. exhibitions, trade fairs, workshops
- New Library resources e.g. DVDs, journals, eStream broadcasts
- Achievements of course alumni e.g. new jobs, press coverage, exhibitions
- Unit information e.g. assessment deadlines, tutorial times, lecture notes
myUCA Announcements are widely used across the university and any tutor can make announcements in their course and unit areas. it is possible to add images and videos into myUCA Announcements, and you can also choose to send a copy of the announcement to students’ UCA email account. Announcements made in a course area will be seen by all students on the course, but announcements made in a unit area will only be seen by students enrolled on that particular unit.
This short video demonstrates how to use the Announcements tool in myUCA.
Emailing students from myUCA
Staff and students can easily send emails to anyone enrolled on a course or unit by selecting the ‘Send an Email’ button in the left-hand menu.
The list below explains who will receive your email depending on the option you choose:
- All Users: any student or tutor who is enrolled on your course will receive your email
- All Groups: if you have created groups within your course or unit, anyone who is a member of a group will receive your email
- All Student Users: anyone who is enrolled on your course or unit as a student will receive your email. Note that this will also include some Library and Student Services staff.
- All Instructor Users: any tutors on the course or unit will receive your email
- Single / Select Users: you can choose to send your email to individual students or tutors
- Single / Select Groups: you can choose to email one or multiple groups
An advantage of sending an email from a course or unit area is that you can easily locate and email specific members of a course or unit. This facility is not available in the normal UCA Exchange email.
This short video demonstrates how to send an email in myUCA.
Using ‘social media’ tools (Twitter, blogs)
You may prefer to use a more ‘social’ tool for online communication such as Twitter or a blog. The advantage of these tools is that they are discursive, meaning that students can comment on your announcement and share it on their own communication channels. There are significant advantages to using discursive communication tools, but it is important to bear in mind is that your communications will be openly visible on the web. This can bring advantages for the course in terms of marketing, and it also provides an opportunity to develop students’ digital literacy by helping them learn how to communicate in a professional manner.
However, please remember that many of UCA’s professional departments provide communication for students via myUCA – you will need to make sure that you re-post all university announcements on your blog or Twitter feed to ensure that students do not miss out on important university notices. If you choose to use a social tool for online communication please provide links to it in each unit in myUCA.
Your Learning Technologist can also assist you in embedding your blog or Twitter feed in each unit to provide a seamless experience for students.