As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, it caused government lockdowns everywhere. College students weren’t allowed to meet in groups, even for essential school work, forcing administrators to rethink college communication.
This guide looks at three technologies colleges should embrace for communicating effectively with students to avoid similar restrictions in future.
1. Video calling apps
Before the pandemic, 38% of Americans said they had never used video chat platforms. Two months into the pandemic, most students transitioned to using video conferencing apps for online classes.
Additionally, most employers are using video-calling apps to conduct interviews. Therefore, instructors must guide college students on using video chat platforms.
Unlike email communication, video-calling apps involve oral and non-verbal communication. You can use these to refine students’ active listening skills and sharpen their overall communication skills.
For instance, you can help them identify the meanings of body language and gestures. Thus, they can learn to read subtle emotions such as empathy, irritation, uncertainty, and compassion.
That is a valuable way of turning a student into a good communicator, vital for future job searches.
Some of the most prominent video conferencing apps include:
- Blackboard Collaborate
- Google Hangouts Meet
Most of these provide platforms where college students can attend lectures, submit assignments, and conduct peer discussions.
Here’s how video conferencing can improve communication and enhance learning:
- You can use the platform to make courses easily available as students can attend classes from the comfort of their homes or access learning material stored on the forum. Further, you can record videos and edit them to ensure the delivery is crisp before releasing the video to the students
- Video conferencing makes it easier to invite an advisor or colleagues who are subject matter experts to give lectures, whether pre-recorded or live, from wherever they are.
- Content sharing is a notch higher as your students can use the shared material such as pdf, documents, and other files in real-time.
- Syllabus material on any academic field can be available online, and students can access them throughout the semester. Whether they are on the campuses or not, they can log in using their cell phones or computers.
- Collaboration is enhanced as there is a blackboard and discussion board feature where students can share their views. Moreover, there are chat rooms where you can separate the students into different rooms for each discussion.
Since video conferencing will be a big part of students’ lives, such teachings should involve netiquette.
2. Digital signage
Another fun way to communicate with students is using digital signage.
While digital signage refers to sending information to a display, no other tool on this list is as versatile.
Digital signage allows for dynamic content integration, workflow management, content scheduling, and network monitoring of engaging content.
In addition, digital signage allows for multi-user access from any location and displaying of content on multiple screens.
All that means you can use digital signage effectively to communicate:
- Events schedule
- Inspirational quotes
- Social media streams
- Student’s achievements
- Alerts and announcements
- Analytics of student grades
- Wayfinding around campus
- Showcasing graduation ceremonies
- As an in/out board of members of faculty present during office hours
3. Social media
Social media is not just a place for slang and emoticons. With proper guidelines, it can be a valuable part of your network for gauging students’ communication and critical thinking abilities.
For example, you can ask open-ended questions to gain an insight into a student’s problem solving capacities.
You could use social media to create a positive learning environment. For example, you can provide high levels of support and positive feedback on the social feed.
That provides motivation to continue learning and encourages students to be interested in their tasks.
Besides that, you can use social media to share a student’s experience, answer specific questions, and provide recommendations.
Social media is an excellent tool for promoting the college’s values and achievements while connecting with present and former students.
Alternatively, you can use a picture-centric social media site such as Instagram to showcase the campus to prospective students.
In times of crisis, social media sites such as Twitter are a brilliant platform for real-time updates and communication. Such a platform is vital for relaying crucial information, so social media should be a part of crisis information plans.
That said, you should teach your students to keep in mind the three C’s of good communication – courtesy, cooperation, and clarity – if they hope to communicate effectively.
These are the most popular social media sites used for college communication:
Why you need technology for effective communication with students?
You should embrace technology such as video conferencing apps if you hope to communicate effectively with college students. Getting ahead of the newest technology trends is critical and can help give you an advantage in communicating with your students.