You’ll want to let students know about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety and save you dealing with individual questions.
Keep these principles in mind:
- Communicate early and often: Let students know about changes or disruptions as early as possible, even if all the details aren’t in place yet, and let them know when they can expect more specific information. Don’t swamp them with email, but consider matching the frequency of your messages with that of changes in class activities and/or updates to the broader crisis at hand (for example, the campus closure is extended for two more days; what will students need to know related to your course?).
- Set expectations: Let students know how you plan to communicate with them (i.e. email, Canvas Announcements, etc.), and how often. Tell students both how often you expect them to check their email and how quickly they can expect your response. If you are using Canvas to manage communications, you might also suggest that they update their notification preferences.
- Manage your communications load: You will likely receive some individual requests for information that could be useful to all your students, so consider keeping track of frequently asked questions and sending those replies out to everyone. This way, students know they might get a group reply in a day versus a personal reply within an hour. Also, consider creating an information page in Canvas and encouraging students to check there for updated information.