E-communication can be the vehicle for many kinds of routine communication that would otherwise take up class time:
Students don’t really have questions about where the final is, and announcing an extra class session verbally is not terribly reliable. Most of us want written confirmation of meetings or movie times, so put everything in writing. Even if you only get 5 minutes more per class, you’ve gained a couple of hours every semester for learning. Students will soon learn to check email or the website instead of asking you.
(Try HeyTell to leave mass voice messages)
Students don’t sleep with your syllabus. It is reasonable and useful to send a summary after each class, or a reminder of the upcoming topic and what preparation is needed. Short interesting summaries can be learning tools in their own right, but also save time in class for other things.
• Readings, Files, Notes and Handouts:
Many students still like writing on hard copies, but as students move to laptops and iPads that they bring to class, there is less of a need to print hard copies. Create a website or use an LMS to keep all of your handouts, files, links and anything else students might need for either study or class in one place. Dropbox is an easy to use free cloud service that works well as a repository for class pdfs and documents, but be aware that if you also use Dropbox for student papers, students will be able to see each other’s papers.
• Additional Content:
Students and faculty rarely remember the lectures that went perfectly and got through all the material. Knowing that you can use e-mail, a blog or Dropbox for additional examples that you forgot (or ran out of time for) in class can help you stop obsessing over “covering” the material and focus on what is happening in the moment of each class.