Help! I Have 150 Messages in My Inbox This Week!
Many teachers have noticed an important change in their task in the last few years. One of these changes stems from new tools such as the Moodle and LEA platforms and messaging systems. Is it possible to be efficient and effective while working with these tools? This article provides some tips to use these technologies to their full potential.
Two things I have found:
- Teachers receive a great number of messages and e-mail from their students.
- Students generate a great number of text messages in their social life and are transferring this habit to tools offered by the CEGEP. This has been the case for the Omnivox system (MIOs).
Students need to develop good habits for the use of Information and Communication Technologies while learning to distinguish between their social and professional lives. The Docq, Lebrun et Smidths research group noted that one of the benefits of technology is to help students get acquainted with the technological tools (that will be the same tools for their socio-professional future.
How should one prepare to support students in their use of technology, while maintaining effectiveness and ensuring that this support promotes student success and motivation?
The young adults in our classrooms often send us messages as if we were their friends. It is important to set boundaries by establishing rules that will help them in the future. Each teacher can specify their own rules but should strive to limit the number of rules to five, and then have the students apply them. For example:
- Messages must be written using correct English, including spelling and grammar.
- Begin messages with a salutation (such as Hello) and end them with a complete signature (first and last name, program of study).
- Avoid writing sentences with capital letters (which is the written equivalent of SHOUTING).
- Use respectful and non-defamatory language.
- Write complete sentences (subject, verb and complement)
Show your colours the first day of class.
These simple rules will help you to avoid receiving messages similar to what you receive through text messaging. What’s more, you can refuse to answer messages that don’t follow one or more of the established rules. You may also opt to respond with a simple message: “This message does not respect the established rules of netiquette. I invite you to rewrite the message and resubmit it to me.”
The various Learning Management Systems (LMS) that are offered by colleges, such as Moodle and LEA, offer many features that each have distinct purposes and applications. According to Rolland Viau (2009), one of the motivating factors for the millennials is to “favoriser une interaction interactive entre l’étudiant et la machine” (use an approach that allows for interactive interaction between the student and the machine).
The function of an e-mail is to send a message to a particular person, sometimes with one or more file attachments. If you receive a question that you think many students might be interested in, should the answer be sent to everyone? If the answer is yes, e-mail is not the right tool. A discussion board (forum) in LEA or a knowledge base in Moodle would be more appropriate. If your college doesn’t offer these services, it may be possible to set up a shared space in the cloud (Office 365, Google Drive, or other).
Are there any other situations to avoid? Here is a table to illustrate a few problematic scenarios and some potential solutions.
Do any of these situations resonate with you? Don’t be surprised. It’s normal.
Several years ago, e-mail and messaging systems were the innovation. Since then, many teaching and learning platforms such as the LMS have been developed. These innovations bring new opportunities with them to be more efficient and are beneficial for everyone involved. That’s why it’s time to relegate e-mail to its primary role, which is to send personal information to one person (emergency, confidential message, etc). Transmitting documents to a group and submitting assignments is more efficient through the LMS.
The LMS makes our lives easier and promotes student success. Centralizing information in a repository for just-in-time downloading is aligned with the busy lives of students (who have ubiquitous Internet access across many devices such as their smart phone, tablet or laptop). What’s more, the different resources allow students to plan their activities while offering a complete digital lesson plan. Let’s use the LMS to provide our students with the “4 A’s” – and let anyone learn at anytime, anywhere, and anyhow they want.