Regular and Effective Contact Quick Guide

During the Week Before the Term Starts: Prepare Students

  • Make sure your Profile in Canvas is updated with a picture, preferred way to contact you (phone/email/text/social media account), and anything personal you would like your students to know – family/hobbies/fun facts.
  • Send a Welcome Letter or Welcome Video 2-5 days before the term starts via PeopleSoft and through Canvas Inbox – Post under Announcements in Canvas for late add students. This will begin regular and effective contact.
  • Make sure the Welcome Letter/Video includes: response time for answering student emails, attendance/participation policy/drop policy with time-frame for check-in assignment, day/time of synchronous online office hours and through what tool – Canvas Chat or another conferencing tool.

During the First Few Days of the Term: Begin Regular and Effective Contact

  • Give students a Course Check-In Assignment that is due the first week of class – Thursday at 11:59pm for 4-8 week classes and Sunday at 11:59pm for 10-16 week classes. This assignment can be simple since the purpose is just to have students check into the course in order to determine any non-participating students.
  • Let students know they will be dropped for non-participation if they don’t complete this check-in assignment. Examples include a discussion in which students introduce themselves (Icebreaker) or a syllabus quiz.
  • On the second or third day of the term, consider messaging or emailing students inside Canvas who have not logged in or have not participated. This will help establish regular and effective contact with students during the first week of class.
  • ●Message all students and let them know when synchronous online office hours will be held weekly and through what tool.

During the First Week of the Term: Communication

  • Initiate contact with students, especially if you see that a student is struggling with coursework or has stopped participating.
  • Keep records of any interaction that occurs through GCC email, but it is best to keep the interaction in Canvas (Canvas inbox).
  • Answer emails and/or Canvas messages within 24 to 48 hours (especially Monday-Friday). Make sure this timeframe is in your Welcome Letter.
  • Consider creating a Q&A Discussion Board where students can ask and answer questions; Make sure you check this board for questions often.
  • Send out Monday morning Announcements with highlights or goals for the week, or consider posting weekly welcome videos or written announcements that cover the same content.

During the Term: Discussion Forums

  • Have weekly discussion forums on a course-relevant academic topic that are graded/worth points to cover instructor-student regular and effective contact – or select another option to fulfill this weekly contact.
  • It is very important for instructors to be participating in the discussion and responding to students’ posts within the discussion (not just when grading). This helps fulfill student-student weekly contact.
  • Try to respond to at least half of the student posts per week. Respond to the other half in the following week so students are contacted often.

During the Term: Assessments and Feedback

  • Assignments must go beyond automatically graded (multiple-choice) quizzes with no feedback from the instructor. You cannot run self-paced courses – regular and effective contact must be met weekly.
  • Students should be receiving regular, formative and substantive feedback on their assignments that goes beyond, "Good work” or “Nice Job”.
  • Feedback should be thorough, academic, and individualized. The same comment should not be copied to multiple users without modifications.
  • Feedback should be timely (a recommended 7-10 days after submission).

During the Term: Using Publisher Resources

  • If you are using a publisher website that only allows for automatically graded assignments, this must be supplemented with assignments in Canvas that will allow you to give individualized, thorough feedback.
  • The content should be supplemented with instructor-created learning materials (lectures, content pages, etc.).
  • Please make sure that you can access the records of activity/interaction that takes place in the publisher website for at least two years since this information might need to be provided to program review or accreditation.
  • Whenever possible, course activity and interaction should be kept in Canvas and materials/assignments should be instructor-created.

During the Term: Staying ADA/508 Compliant