Communication and tutorial tools
Communication with students is very important and the emphasis should be on interaction, sharing and generation of knowledge among participants. It is therefore advisabel to include spaces to facilitate and promote that communication, which could be centred on forums on the same platform or distributed through social meida such as blogs, hangouts, and so on. The communication tools to facilitate student-student and student-teacher realtions are:
Communications about important points in the course, about changes that can affect the normal course follow-up, about the explanation about an issue or FAQ in the forums...
Forums are the most used communication tool in a MOOC, as they allow the massive participation of the learners. It is the best communication channel to exchange ideas and knowledge, as well as to ask for doubts. The teaching staff follows up the forum and offers an answer to the questions that appear.
Learners are expected to answer other learners, but it is mandatory that the support team keeps an eye on the forums, to be able to solve doubts or problems that could arise.
Forums can have different threads or categories and it is possible to subscribe to them.
YouTube Live is a free application that allows video conferences through it.
Through the group video chat and web conferences we can be connected to different people in different parts of the world at the same time. We can also share the screen of the devide we are using, that's to say, the others can see what is showing in our device. This tool is perfect for tutorial classes, solving questions live (on air) or explain a procedure step by step. Once the hangout is finished it remains in YouTube.
Blogs, Twitter and Facebook (among others) can be a place where the learners can exchange ideas and interact with other learners. Moreover, instructors can also interact with them, to explain important ideas they want to remark during the course. The different posts or twits can refer to the new material we offer the learners and the way learners have to proceed with the assessments.
All these tools allow an effective follow-up of the course, as well as they allow to create debates and learner engagement.