The best interaction in an online course is the interaction you create through suspense. By creating an Announcement Schedule you can stick to, you build anticipation for each forthcoming announcement. Courses that stick to an announcement schedule create timely interactions to keep both instructor and participants on pace. Students anticipate your announcements and then are routinely satisfied when you post them.
Stick to an Announcement Schedule
For K-12 blended or online classrooms a weekly schedule can be the activator of participation and community. While styles vary, there are several similarities you can harness to create an announcement schedule you can stick to! Well-timed announcements build suspense and immediately answer that suspense with the formula to prepare for the next segment of learning.
K-12 courses compartmentalize well into weeks. The two best times of the week to send an announcement is Monday or Friday. If an announcement goes out Monday it is a preview of the week to come, maybe a mention of what happened last week to build to this week’s content and learning, and any noteworthy items to pay special attention to during the week. If an announcement goes out Friday it is a review of the past week with a view toward how the week’s learning will connect to next week’s learning. Upcoming dues dates and items of importance should be mentioned as well.
Announcements should be formatted similarly from week to week. Train your learners to look for the same information, in the same order, within your announcements by using a formatting formula:
- Looking Back/Looking Forward
- Upcoming Due Dates
Upcoming Items of Importance
- A Call to Action
Within the format, you can vary the delivery or vary the content. Consider changing up the greeting to a video greeting, an audio greeting, guests on video with you (school principal/counselor).
Call to Action
Your Call to Action (CTA) serves two purposes. The CTA gives the student the “next thing to do” and it can also help you measure who read to the end of your announcement; some instructors give away extra credit, homework passes, etc. out early in the course a few times to get the participants reading to the end of the announcement.
How to include families? Are your families all viewing/receiving the announcements or do you need to allow a plan to broadcast the same announcement to parents as well? Consider how to make announcements something all stakeholders have access to.
Creating the expectation for something and then repeatedly satisfying that expectation is a great way to create positive engagement between you and your participants.