8.2 Communication Expectations

Communication expectations are clearly stated. Consider including this in the course syllabus.

Examples include types of communication tools used, frequency of communication, expected tone, writing style, synchronous live communication expectations, etc.

Points: 2 (Very Important)

QM Alignment: 1.3


In an online course, students interact with the instructor, each other, and course content. Interaction should promote active and meaningful learning and create a learning community. Do your communication expectations address all forms of interaction?

Communication Methods

  • Facilitative: Provide students with updates or tips related to an active lesson. Clarify student understanding.
  • Feedback: Provide students with information related to the learning process, lesson contents, activities, assessment, and assignments. Enhance student knowledge.
  • Class: Provide the entire class with additional information and feedback on course content, activities, assessments or assignments. Build class community.
  • One-on-One: Provide individual students with descriptive, prompt feedback. Build personal connections.
Some things to consider when choosing a communication method is whether it will be public or private and will it be synchronous. Also, be certain that the method aligns with the course and is student-centered.


Communication Tools

Some of the tools that instructors might choose to use for course communication include the following:
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Office Consultations
  • Announcements
  • Discussions
  • Comment Boxes
  • Text
  • Teams Chat
  • Teams Meetings

Recommendations for Course Communication Policies

What do your course communication policies communicate to your students? Do your communication policies provide students with the following information?
  • Academic Netiquette?
  • Academic Integrity?
  • Communications Policy?
  • Discussion Protocols?
  • Aligned, Critical Prompt
  • Participation Range & Level
  • Peer Response Quality
  • Instructor Facilitated
  • Student Moderated
  • Format: Written, Audio, Video
  • Peer Response Policy?
  • Instructor Feedback Policy?

Sample Course Communication Policy

Course Communication Policy: When you communicate with class peers or the instructor, keep your communication respectful, collegiate and educational. We will be using a range of communication tools: email, discussions, chat, announcement, and gradebook comments. Our course also works on developing college-level communication skills. We may never meet in the physical world, but your words may leave a lasting impression. Course communications are part of our learning experience.
Basic communication guidelines include:
  • Apply netiquette to ensure your communication is college-level and positive.
  • Communicate logically and critically. Most of our communications will ask you to present your thoughts on an item. Be sure to support your position with examples or evidence. Use specific details.
  • Organize and format your communication for reader appeal, so we can easily understand your message and find all key points.
  • Preview, re-read and edit your posting carefully before you post. Check spelling and grammar.

Sample Template Email to Professor

Subject: Meeting About _____

Dear Professor _____,

 I hope all is well. I started working on my assignment for _____ and I just had a couple of questions to make sure that I am on the right track. I also wanted to ask a question about yesterday’s lesson on _____, as I was a little confused and I want to ensure that I fully understand the content for the test next week. I know on the syllabus you mentioned that you have available office hours at _____ but I am not able to make it. Will you be at your desk at _____ or _____.

Thank you,



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HCC Online Course High Quality Standards by Hillsborough Community College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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