Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum (ECAC)
Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) ECAC Home
Donna Reiss
Active Learning Online

Getting Started with Electronic Communication
  1. Vary pedagogical approaches to suit the subject matter and the students.
    • Do not rely entirely on electronic discourse any more than you rely entirely on lectures or labs or journals or collaborative groups.
    • Select tools and techniques appropriate to each learning situation.
  2. Plan assignments carefully in advance so they will be focused first to serve your instructional purposes and your students' instructional needs.
  3. Develop clear structures and guidelines: what to do, when to do it, when and how to submit it, how long to make it, how much time to spend on it. For several specific designs, see Discussion Tips and Discussion Patterns.
  4. Be flexible and patient with yourself: if one approach isn't working, switch to another.
  5. Be creative and willing to take risks: if in the middle of class you think of a new way to use the technology, try it; experiment with ways the technology can support your instructional goals.
  6. Be willing to show students the limitations of your own understanding of these constantly evolving technologies.
  7. Invite students to become partners or leaders in planning ways to use technology effectively for learning.
  8. Participate in discipline-specific electronic bulletin boards, email discussion lists, and online professional activities to learn what others in your field are doing with e-learning as well as to keep up with research in the field.
  9. Participate in cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary electronic bulletin boards, email discussion lists, and online professional activities to learn what faculty and professionals in other fields are doing with e-learning as well as to connect with a community of e-learning enthusiasts and experminters.
  10. Start slowly with one activity and technology to develop your own confidence and comfort as well as your students'.
  11. Be prepared for technical problems: always have Plan B in case the technology is not operating as you had hoped.

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developed and copyright ©1996 by
D. Reiss
modified and copyright ©15 August 2005 by
D. Reiss