Connect With Students From Day One… How to Evaluate Participation… Has Voice Messaging Replaced Texting?

Connect With Students From Day One 

There’s no better time to begin bonding with students than the beginning of a new semester. Showing kindness and encouragement helps foster a classroom environment that helps students connect with course content. To foster a nurturing atmosphere, instructors can adopt a variety of strategies, such as the following:

  • Checking in with students before class to build rapport
  • Creating a learning environment with assignments that allow students to get acquainted with one another and in which they can discuss differing perspectives
  • Crafting assignments with objectives that can be accomplished using various learning modalities
  • Aligning learning goals with Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning
  • Revisiting course objectives throughout the term
  • Having students reflect on course

Source: Roth, S. (2022. September 14.) Cultivating connection in a course setting. Faculty Focus.

How to Evaluate Participation

Although most professors prefer that their students participate, grading that participation is full of pitfalls. Introverted students may find speaking in front of others off-putting. Grading participation is almost always subjective, according to research. So how can we encourage students to participate and include that participation as part of students’ grades in a fair and equitable way?

Instructors employ a variety of strategies. One professor at Colorado State University has students assess themselves. This method is especially beneficial when online students are in breakout rooms or when classroom students are in small groups. In both situations the instructor cannot hear everything discussed within groups so is not able to fairly assess participation. Another instructor uses a four-point Likert scale in which students assign themselves a grade twice during the term. Others make sure students have a variety of ways to participate.

Whichever method they use, instructors must make sure to inform students of how they will assess participation and why it enhances their learning experience.

Source: McMurtrie, B. (2022, September 22.) Evaluating participation. Teaching Newsletter, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Has Voice Messaging Replaced Texting?

Texting, we hardly knew ‘ye and already you’re gone?

Well, perhaps not gone but being unceremoniously replaced by sometimes annoying voice messages via Messages on iPhones and WhatsApp on other devices. Informally referred to as voice notes or voice memos, voice messaging is becoming one of the most popular features across all platforms.

One of the reasons voice notes have become so popular is to ensure that messages cannot be misconstrued, since even well-crafted texts cannot capture the nuances of human voices. Other communicators use them in lieu of long phone messages.

Still, many recipients are less than thrilled with this type of messaging. The hearing impaired consider listening to voice memos a challenge. Others object to the fact that they take more time to listen to than glancing at a text would require.

The sheer volume of voice notes merits a new etiquette. To ensure recipients are not annoyed or irritated by voice notes, consider these pointers:

  • Be sure a voice note is the best communication channel. Usually that means it shouldn’t need to be listened to more than once.
  • Leave messages that last less than a minute.
  • Consider the audience. If the listener has shown displeasure about voice memos in the past, use a text or e-mail.
  • Remember that people may not be in a location that allows them to hear a voice message clearly.
  • Be aware that recording in a noisy area will make understanding the message difficult.
  • Avoid recording or listening to voice messages where others may overhear and always use appropriate language.

Source: Taylor, M. (2022, September 28.) The year of the voice message: a modern guide to phone etiquette. The Wall Street Journal.


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