Table of Contents

What is it?

In the context of the classroom, communication can be defined as delivering content to students clearly and in such a way that they can understand, retain, and apply it.

How is it Used in the Classroom?

The importance of communication in the classroom cannot be overstated. Whether the communication is taking place virtually or face-to-face, through conversations or emails, between students and faculty or simply among the students themselves, sharing information and knowledge is critical to a successful learning experience.

When meeting your class, establish clear and consistent guidelines for your expectations early and often. It is important to note that students may be reluctant to communicate with their instructors for many reasons; most often, students feel (correctly or incorrectly) that their instructors are not approachable. Discuss options for communicating with you during class time, and establish what your comfort level is with communication. Would you rather your students only come to you with course-related questions? Would you prefer that they approach you with questions in person after class or reach out to you by email after?

Creating an environment in which students also feel comfortable communicating with each other is also important. Establish guidelines for what will not be tolerated in discussions and enforce those guidelines. Setting up groups for students to work together informally or creating group assignments can also foster a sense of community in the classroom and increase student engagement.

Next Steps for Communicating in the Classroom:

Consider implementing some of these strategies in your classroom:

  • Outline your preferred mode of communication in your syllabus or other foundational course document as specifically as possible. For example, if you prefer that your students contact you by email, should they use their KSU email or the email system embedded within D2L? (Try our Online Course Syllabus Template)
  • Establish expectations for communicating as a class and create a code of conduct or Netiquette statement explicitly stating what will not be tolerated in course discussions, whether synchronous or asynchronous.
  • Consider including group work or assignments so that students can learn from each other.


Read about the TILT method to increase effective communication

Learn about using Intelligent Agents in D2L for automating communication

Designing your course with Universal Design for Learning principles is an effective method for increasing communication

Suggestions for improving online discussion boards from Faculty Focus

Untangling the Web of Student-Teacher Communication from Faculty Focus