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A Proactive Approach to Communication in Moodle with the Reengagement Plugin

By July 2, 2018 No Comments
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Faculty are always asking us if there are more effective ways to communicate with students. Traditional Moodle features, like Forums and other Activity feedback, are great, but that communication tends to be more reactive rather than proactive.

There’s also a fine line between sending too much information or too few notifications. If reminders are sent too often, students will start to ignore them. If you don’t send enough, students fall behind in the course. Where’s the communication sweet spot?

With the Reengagement plugin and an instructor communication policy, you may be able to walk that line gracefully.

Instructor Communication Policy

First, what’s an “instructor communication policy”? It’s a statement you add in the course syllabus that outlines your intended frequency and method of communication. For instance, an instructor might want to send a weekly email introducing content and activity due dates. By starting the course with this policy, students can expect at least one weekly email from you.

Another example would be to remind students a week before each activity due date. For some courses, that may overstep the lines of a respectful amount of communication, so maybe only reminders for major activity due dates – such as a midterm or final – are sent.

Reengagement Plugin

Next, what’s the Reengagement plugin? At the basic level, this plugin is added to a course as an Activity and can be set to send messages at specific times. Maybe you want to send a reminder to students for when a Quiz Activity opens. During the Reengagement Activity setup, you would match the Reengagement Activity settings to the date and time the quiz becomes available.

Or, maybe the Quiz Activity Close date is looming, and you only want a reminder sent to students who have not yet completed it. With Activity completion set in the Quiz Activity, you would elect to “Suppress notification if target activity complete” in the Reengagement settings. Now, only the students who haven’t completed the quiz will receive an email.

How does this type of communication impact students?

Although you may have set up Reengagements weeks in advance, your students will feel as if you are with them every step of the way. This may lead to less feelings of isolation and more feelings of motivation, and a motivated student is more likely to be engaged with the course.

Lastly, the biggest question…

How can you avoid students ignoring your communication?

This is where the communication policy comes into play. Create a schedule of announcements first, then ask yourself if you would like receiving that amount of communication and adjust accordingly.

And remember… Once created, hold yourself accountable to your own policy! It might be tempting to send just one more reminder, but if that additional reminder violates your policy, think twice. Timely reminders are helpful, but receiving too many becomes overwhelming.

Once you master the basics of Reengagement, then you can explore more complex functions that combine Activity completion and Restrict access settings.

If you are looking for a more proactive approach to communicating with your students, speak with our experts at eThink about the Reengagement plugin.

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