Dr. Christine Shea
College of Education
East Carolina University
When faculty members accustomed to teaching face-to-face classes begin teaching online classes they may question how they can make connections with students and communicate with them on an informal level.
At East Carolina University (ECU), Dr. Christine Shea, a Professor in Education Foundations, has reflected on the differences between face-to-face and online instruction—especially the impact of not seeing the students’ faces. She uses basic charts to record information about students in each course, keeping those charts readily available beside her computer monitor. Dr. Shea says her record-keeping system evolved naturally as she worked to develop a way to compensate for not being able to see students and connect regularly in person. Dr. Shea obtains and records student information from students’ emails, chats, and assignments.
She makes a point of consulting the charts when she goes online to “talk” with students in a chat room or via email. This system facilitates personalization of messages, encouraging faculty-student communication. More information is available on the Instructional Practice section on two of the record charts—the Student Record Chart and the Assignment Record Chart—developed by Dr. Shea, as well as possible applications of this strategy in face-to-face classes and implications for students’ preferences for communication.
Each of the College STAR modules includes a concept map, giving readers an overview of the module content. (A concept map represents information or concepts in a graphical format .) The concept maps show the links between the instructional practice in the module, possible outcomes, and, in some cases, the principles of Universal Design for Learning, known as UDL.
Figure 1, the concept map shown below, illustrates the instructional practice in this module, which is recording students’ personal and academic information. Dr. Shea uses the information to personalize her email and chat comments to each individual. She says this helps to establish an informal tone for dialogue and helps her connect with students’ interests. Additionally, this student information can be used in multiple ways to make the content and assignments more engaging for the students.
The record of student academic information provides a quick reference of each student’s progress toward course completion. Dr. Shea uses the assignment completion information to prompt her to contact students about their progress in the course and create opportunities for questions or clarification of assignments.
Clicking on the concept map, Figure 1, will enlarge the image.
There are multiple ways to navigate College STAR modules. Clicking on the sidebar menu takes you directly to the main sections and subsections of the module.
Navigation features located at the top and bottom of each screen allow you to move through the module. Clicking on the “breadcrumb trail” at the top of the module screen takes you directly to previously viewed parts of the module, as shown below in Figure 2 in the example from the Charting Student Information module.
Figure 2: A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page. A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page.
The navigation arrows at the bottom of each screen take you to the previous or next components of the module. The menu link at the bottom of each screen takes you to the top of the screen where you may view the menu sidebar as shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3: Navigation links are also located at the bottom of each page of a module.
Additionally, some links within the text lead to other sections of the module. Please use your preferred method of navigation to proceed to the next section about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).