Our online students are in a very different situation from those in the traditional classroom. In the traditional class room discussion the students sit in a chair and see and hear the facilitator. In the online class room the student sits in a chair and sees a computer screen. The online student often wonders if anyone is even reading what he or she posts and not feeling included can take away motivation to participate.
One thing I have learned in my 20 or so years of online teaching is that the online classroom must be inclusive to be successful. There are many ways to make this happen and sometimes just a little thing you do can make a student feel that you are there for him or her. One of those things is the way you complete the subject line when responding to students. When completing a subject line mine read:
John Smith and Class OR John Smith, Mary Jones and Class if replying to more than one student.
What does this actually do to help make the classroom inclusive?
Just a little thing like this can make a difference. More to come next week!!