Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Building rapport with your students in the online mode

I was asked at short notice to speak to university tutors on "Building rapport with your students in the online mode". Here are some thoughts:

Building rapport with your students in the online mode 

by Tom Worthington, MEd FHEA FACS CP IP3P
Honorary Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science, ANU

What is rapport?

"a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well."
From: OED 

Why Rapport?

"Preliminary modelling by the Brain and Mind Centre suggests the COVID-19 crisis could cause up to 750 extra suicides a year ..."

Guidelines for Rapport

  1. welcoming students through personal introductions 
  2. being responsive on discussion boards
  3. providing timely and detailed feedback
  4. encouraging deep learning through inclusive and relevant learning activities and assessments
  5. generating peer interaction over learning tasks
  6. making appropriate use of learning tools
  7. assisting with problems
  8. referring to the correct support.
From: National Guidelines for Improving Student Outcomes in Online Learning, Cathy Stone, NCSEHE & The University of Newcastle, 2016

Example: Learning to Reflect Instructor's Guide

"Welcome to Learning to Reflect, I am your instructor for this module, Tom Worthington. You can contact me via the Dialogue tool in Wattle. You will find materials on the course web page. There is an e-book with a chapter for each of the topics, a description of the assignments, and activities."

From Learning to Reflect, for ANU Techlauncher, Tom Worthington, 2019

Learn Rapport

Dogfooding: "the idea that someone would use the products they were making became known as 'eating your own dog food.'"
From Harrison, W. (2006). Eating your own dog food. IEEE Software, 23(3), 5-7. Retrieved from

Example: Coffee Courses

"... authentic real life assessment tasks should contain the challenges of a real life work context."

From: Principles of authentic assessment, from Assessment and Feedback, Jill Lyall and Mandy Tutalo, ANU Coffee Course, 2019

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