Bruce K. Nelson Faculty Development Center

109 Halle Library
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

[email protected]

Connecting with Students

Student Success is Dependent on Instructor Interaction

Student surveys indicate that the level of engagement with course instructors and with each other is key to their motivation and success in learning.  Instructors, you have many technological options on how to interact with students.   HOW you deliver course content, and HOW OFTEN you provide feedback and answer questions and concerns for course instruction is critical.  Hosting regular office hours and program advising is also vital. Allow yourself to be flexible and work with technologies students are comfortable with AND work within the technology limitations that you and your students might have.

Read More: this link will take you to a Library of Articles on supporting students.

How to Make Super Simple Videos and Why You Should

Here a video on making simple, yet effective videos for your students. 

Other Communication Venues

Technologies beyond email:

Email - Quick Turn-around is Key

Answering questions from students by email is acceptable, however, it is inefficient and problematic if communication is taking too long between questions and answers.  Remember, some students work on assignments long into the night and have expectations of hearing back from you instantly. Let students know your remote working hours and how long before they will hear back from you (24-48 hours). Emails need to be exchanged within a reasonable time, and this turn-around time needs to be upheld by both the instructor and student to work.  Alternatives to email are virtual conferencing with Zoom or Google Meet.

Tips for Advising and Office Hours

Google calendar has a method of "adding appointment slots to a calendar".  Get the directions to set that up.


Scheduling a student advising appointment is one task; how to conduct the advising appointment remotely is a different and separate task. Each department has its own method for how students make advising appointments. Based on the way your department handles advising appointments, it should be communicated how the process of setting up appointments has stayed the same or is different while working remotely.

  • If you set up your own appointments, you can inform students to use the Google calendar option for setting up the appointment. See tips for advising and office hours above for details.
  • Conducting advising appointments: Instructors can meet with students via Google Hangout/Meet, Zoom, Facetime, Adobe Connect. Which ever video conferencing method they like the best and are most comfortable with.

Office Hours

Answering student questions for course instruction: Office Hours and urgent random questions from students' email - going back and forth with answering questions by email is acceptable, however, it is inefficient and problematic if the people communicating take too long between questions and answers. If the question is urgent and requires a timely answer, emails need to be exchanged within a reasonably quick turnaround time. This turn-around time needs to be upheld by both the instructor and student to work.

  • Office Hours - Instructors can set up Hangout meeting for their office hours. To do so, you can first Create a Google Calendar appointment. Make it repeat for all the sessions they want to hold within a week. Add web conferencing with Hangouts, and then send the link to students. If it is created in one repeating meeting then the one link will work for all sessions. The cool part about this is it is like person-to-person Office Hours. The instructor is waiting in Google Hangout (at the link you provided students) and is ready when any student pops into the session. Once the student gets the question answered, they can pop out of the session. It works great! 

For a comprehensive list of resources for you and students, go to the Provost's Office webpage.

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