Using Technology to Help Foster Classroom Connections

Building new connections and fostering valuable connections can be intimidating for both instructors and students, particularly those new to a university. Numerous studies have shown, when students have strong connections with instructors they reap positive benefits including better engagement in the classroom and higher self-confidence. As more faculty integrate technology, particularly Canvas, into all classroom environments, the opportunities to foster these relationships grows.

Canvas offers instructors a variety of tools to interact and connect with students. Canvas discussions allow participants to contribute ideas and feedback to specific questions or topics. Many faculty also create “Q&A” discussions as an open area for students to ask questions on course topics outside of the face-to-face setting. This can lead to enhanced student understanding of topics or areas where more focused instruction needs to take place. Faculty also create “After the Lecture” discussions where they add additional lecture resources or information and students can provide feedback and input on the topic discussed in class.

Canvas Conferences allow instructors and students to meet in an online meeting room for a more dynamic and direct connection. Conferences offer audio and video connection, which many students enjoy as a way to get to know their online instructors. Conferences allow for live-demo sessions, immediate Q&A sessions, or simple course reflection. Faculty often offer online office hours as a convenient opportunity to meet with off-campus students or for those students who cannot meet during regular office times. Other faculty offer “Last Minute Question Sessions” where students can pop-in and ask questions while studying for a big-test or exam and get immediate, clear feedback.

Building student and instructor connections provides students opportunities to gain experience developing and fostering professional relationships. These connections allow students to feel more engaged with their courses, as well as the university as a whole. To learn more about how you can use Canvas tools to connect with your students, contact the DEC today by calling x4332 or e-mail dec@longwood.edu.

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