Encourage Faculty-Student & Student-Student Interaction & Communication
"Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of class is a most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students' intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and plans" (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996, p. 2). This concept applies equally to student-student interaction (p. 3).
Examples of Sakai Use
Use the Email, Forums, Chat Room, Blogs and Wiki tools to foster instructor-student interaction.
Consider setting a specific time during the week for online office hours using Chat Room.
When assigning team projects, establish and promote the use of Sakai groups to encourage students to communicate and share information with each other online.
Post contact information with your communication preferences (e.g. do not call me at home, or you may call me at home until…).
Establish clear guidelines for how email should be handled in the course. Have students include the course and section number in email subject lines.
Consider developing Chat Room or Forums policies that include expectations on appropriateness, professionalism, rules for staying on-topic, referencing other student posts, spelling, participation, etc.
General Best Practices
Promote sharing of ideas and collaboration. "Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's ideas and responding to others' improves thinking and deepens understanding" (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996, p. 3).
Have students study in groups, team up for group projects or problem-solving, and discuss assignments to deepen student-student interaction and reciprocity (p. 3).