Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Keep Teaching - Faculty Resources: Communicate with Students

Guide for faculty teaching resources

Establish Communication Expectations


Be timely and specific about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety.

Taking advantage of tools to broadcast your message (e.g., Announcements, email) will save you time in dealing with lots of individual questions.

Keep these principles in mind:

  • Communicate early and often, but don’t swamp students with email. Students need to know how messaging they may be receiving from the university related to a closure impacts what they need to know related to your course. Suggest to students to set up Flash Alerts to stay informed:
  • Use your syllabus to set expectations about the means and frequency with which you will communicate with students. Make certain you establish clear communication guidelines in your course.
  • Regardless of the instructional modality, it is always a good idea to tell students both how often you expect them to check their email and how quickly they can expect a response from you. Define what communication methods you will accept, 
  • Use a discussion forum to share your response to frequently asked questions so all students can benefit from the information. Encourage students to check this forum first for answers before emailing you.
  • If you have specific changes related to class assignments, please make certain to share this information with students as soon as possible.  You may have to modify your assessments in the course. 
  • Create a syllabus modification checklist for students so they understand the new changes you may be making in your schedule for assignments. 
  • Create a discussion forum for students to ask questions about the assignments each week. By creating a chat space for students, it can reduce the amount of direct email you receive and organize weekly discussions for the class. Students can also help one another each week. Discussions can be used as a functional forum for students to talk to one another about class.
  • Inform your students about online netiquette to establish guidelines for professional and respectful tone and civility.

Getting Your Office Messages

Tools to Use

Discussion Tools