Communication is critical in any course. Students benefit greatly from regular interactions with instructors and other students. Establish your instructor presence in an online environment and maintain it through regular communication and feedback. It’s also important to foster a supportive learning community and provide opportunities for students to connect with and learn from each other.

Instructor Presence and Communication

5 Tips to Boost Social Presence in an Online Class — When students feel isolated in an online course, they often struggle to succeed. Isolation can be hard on instructors too! This video provides five tips to boost social presence in your online courses.

Developing an AI Syllabus Statement for Your Course— It’s important to have a conversation with students regarding how you expect them to use (or not use) AI tools in your course.

Helping Students Get Started in an Online Class – Check out these strategies for communicating and establishing connections with students at the start of a new semester.

Humanizing Your Online Course — Learn some high-impact practices for building trust, awareness, empathy and presence, ultimately creating connection with students and positively impacting their success.

Mid-Semester Check-ins — Learn benefits and best practices for sending out mid-semester course evaluations, see some examples, and consider how to use the results to improve your students learning experience for the rest of the semester.

Providing Effective Feedback – Effective feedback improves students’ learning throughout the learning process.  This resource helps you to explore different options to find the best fit for the instructor or peer feedback for your content.

Use a Course Overview Template – Explain the purpose and structure of the course in a Course Overview document.

Use an Online Learning Expectations Template – Clearly communicate your expectations for behavior and participation in your online course.

Use a Syllabus Template – Provide clarity to students with a syllabus template that includes example language and required university policies.

Use a Welcome Letter Template – Let students know how to get started in your course by sending a welcome letter before the start of class.


Student Interaction and Community

Best Practices for Group Work Evaluation – A resource page for group work evaluation, examples, and best practices.

Creating Student Learning Communities Online – Promote social interaction to engage learners and maximize their online learning experience.

Discussion Forum Best Practices – Strategies for creating more effective asynchronous class discussions.

Engagement in Synchronous and Asynchronous Classrooms – Explore ways to increase student engagement in synchronous and asynchronous courses.

Get Your Students Talking with Yellowdig — Yellowdig is an online discussion platform designed to build community by inviting students to initiate discussion threads in which they connect their course material to real-world experiences, prior knowledge and their own ways of thinking. Yellowdig’s platform uses gamification principles to reduce grading pressure on instructors.

Manage group projects with team contracts  – Strategies on using team contracts to manage group projects.  How this helps students to complete assignments and improves their experience working as a team. (This link will take you to a DELTA News article.)

Netiquette – or Best Practices for Interaction Online – As more classes move online, having clear netiquette can help foster respectful and clear communication in an online environment.  Learn best practices for creating and establishing netiquette in your online courses.

Perusall – Perusall is a text-based social annotation/commenting/discussion tool that can help increase student engagement, build community among your students, motivate them to complete readings, and help them collaborate and communicate with each other.


Digital Whiteboards for Teaching and Learning – A digital whiteboard can provide opportunities for collaboration between students and for student-to-instructor and student-to-content interactions.

Group Work in Moodle — Moodle provides technical solutions for student submission of group work, online group discussion, and peer review.

Leveraging Zoom Tools to Facilitate Engagement – Explore tools and strategies to get the most out of your synchronous class interactions.

Peer Review with Digital Tools – Feedback is a crucial part of learning but doesn’t only have to come from instructors.

Real-time Assessments and Check-ins – Learn how interactive tools can foster an active learning environment and enhance your students’ learning.

Sample Simplified Discussion Forum Rubrics – Examples of discussion forum rubrics with references.

Using Breakout Rooms in Zoom – Use the Breakout Room tool to split up your students into separate Zoom meeting spaces where they can talk and work together.