Communication and Collaboration Strategies for an Effective Online Professor

Communication and Collaboration Strategies for an Effective Online Professor

Heather Miller (Northcentral University, USA), Tom Cavanagh (Walden University, USA) and Annissa Furr (Kaplan University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5178-4.ch020
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Abstract

Online classes in higher education bring unique challenges to faculty. This chapter identifies best practices for effectively communicating and collaborating with students online. The information presented was gained via “crowd science” qualitative methodology, in which online faculty responded via email and a blog post requesting best practices for effectively communicating and collaborating with peers and students online. Faculty were from diverse backgrounds and teaching experiences. Data are presented in concert with recent research in the field of effective online learning and communication with students. The current literature in tandem with the data provides an effective collection of practices to provide online instructors with a guide to successfully facilitate online classes.
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Data Analysis

Data collected for this study were analyzed using inductive analysis (Hatch, 2002). Although the question was posed to faculty participants in terms of communication with colleagues or students, respondents focused primarily on communication with students. Thus, faculty communication with students became the frame of analysis, captured in this quote from a participant.

When I am interacting with students, it is really important for me to convey energy, positivity, and an eagerness for getting to know/interact with the students. I think this type of communication/interactional style impacts their willingness to be part of a greater community where they are valued and know their contributions mean something. Overall, I like to foster mutuality among students . . . their mutual growth impacts their mutual empowerment. This, in turn, assists the class atmosphere by providing an energetic, interesting, and dynamic conversations and learning environment!

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