Communication and Engagement with Students

The following table outlines various student communication and engagement needs, and presents options for tools and technologies available with links to related resources.

Communication Need


Create community

Four-step Guide

Relationships are the very basis of teaching and learning. Students are more engaged when they develop a sense of connection with their instructor and peers. Review this four-step guide with suggestions, and supporting evidence-based resources, to help you create a sense of community in a remote course.

Maintain communication

Keeping communication within the confines of your Brightspace course site helps to keep the amount of communication manageable and organized.

Discussion Tool

Use Discussions to send general messages relevant to all students in the course. When a message is posted, others in the course can view it and benefit from the comments and follow-up questions in the discussion thread.

Course mail/email

Use Brightspace Course Mail or email if the communication is more personal in nature. Mailing the entire class will likely result in a large number of responses that could get unmanageable, thus the Discussion tool tends to work better in these cases.


For those experienced with using Twitter, you can consider setting up a course hashtag and encouraging your students to respond to appropriate content-related conversations there. Please note that if you go this route, your students will need to have a Twitter account and must use the course hashtag with each post to help you curate the responses.

Online office hours

Online Rooms

You may choose to continue your office hours while not on campus. In this case, consider using the Online Rooms tool. It’s a tool all students in your class have access to by being enrolled in your course. Be sure to clearly state when you will be available online. In some cases, it may be appropriate to make appointments if students want your full attention or their questions are of a personal nature. You do not have to record your office hours.

Host study/review sessions

Online Rooms

You or your TA can host review sessions within Online Rooms. Using the application share function, you can present examples, work through web resources or answer questions in preparation for an exam or assignment. These sessions can be recorded and shared if it creates a valuable learning resource.

Solicit student feedback

Brightspace Survey Tool

In the absence of the Course Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ), instructors have an option for getting anonymous feedback from students about their learning experience by using the Brightspace Survey tool. Learn more.


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