There are many different ways to communicate in an online class. The way the materials for the course are structured is an important method of communication. The information that is on the course homepage can give the students very important information. Emails and newsletters that are sent out on a regular basis also communicate important information.

The communication given in teacher feedback that evaluates a student’s work is critical. It is that feedback that lets a student know how they are doing. It lets the teacher know if the student is moving in the right direction and conveys that information to the student. That feedback is where the student finds out specific information from the teacher about their progress in the class.

It’s easy to quickly grade a student’s work and give them a grade and a Good job! or Needs Improvement. That kind of feedback is useless to a student. They already know that information from the grade alone. Clear feedback, that tells a student what they did well and what needs improvement, linked with specifics on how to improve is what will help a student improve their work.

Feedback may be given in many different ways. You can record yourself and send an audio message. You can write the feedback. It is possible to do a video conference. Whatever method is used be sure to tell each student what is done well, what can use improvement, and how to make that improvement.

Feedback that is targeted is often the difference in keeping a borderline student involved in the class. They feel that the teacher cares about them and are more willing to make an effort because they know what they need to do. All students do better with targeted feedback and feel more involved in their class.