Mass Communication Tools

What are Mass Communication Tools

Regardless of how large or small the class, it’s always helpful to be able to communicate en masse with your students. Mass communication tools are a broad category for tools that enable instructors to send out communications (emails, messages, information, notes, etc.) to a group of people (such as all students or a group of students in a class) at once. The focus of this page is upon mass communication tools specific to OWL

What is the purpose of Mass Communication Tools

Mass communication tools are designed to make it easier to get important messages out to a large group of people. In OWL, various mass communication tools serve unique purposes such as sending out course announcements or communicating with student groups. Use of mass communication tools can not only save instructor time, the tools can have positively impact student learning, engagement, and motivation (Baker, 2010;  Putulowski & Crosby, 2017).

How to use Mass Communication Tools

In general, mass communication tools are intended to allow an instructor to author and send out a common message to all recipients. Most communication tools referenced on this page allow for two-way communication, enabling recipients to reply, indicate their preference, or communicate back to the instructor in some way. In OWL, each mass communication tool serves slightly different functionality. When choosing a tool for communicating to students, make sure that the tool you’ve selected adequately meets your intended goals.

Here are some ideas for how mass communication tools can be utilized for teaching and learning:

  • Use the Announcements, Forums, or Messages Tools to send out important messages about upcoming course events, deadlines, or activities.
  • Use the Messages Tool to send private messages to individual students or a group of students (e.g. to communicate about group project work, to arrange office hour consults, etc.)
  • Use the Polls Tool to quickly survey the class on pertinent questions

Comparison

Centrally Supported Tool
Announcements Tool - OWL
Centrally Supported Tool
Calendar Tool - OWL
Centrally Supported Tool
Email Archive Tool - OWL
Centrally Supported Tool
Forums Tool - OWL
Centrally Supported Tool
Messages Tool - OWL
Centrally Supported Tool
OWL
Piazza Centrally Supported Tool
Podcasts Tool - OWL
Centrally Supported Tool
Syllabus Tool - OWL
Centrally Supported Tool
Teams - Microsoft
Functionality functionality rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: 2 stars functionality rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 2 stars functionality rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: 2 stars functionality rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 2 stars functionality rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 3 stars functionality rating for OWL: 2 stars functionality rating for Piazza: 2 stars functionality rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 2 stars functionality rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 3 stars functionality rating for Teams - Microsoft: 1 stars
Accessibility accessibility rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: 3 stars accessibility rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 3 stars accessibility rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: 2 stars accessibility rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 2 stars accessibility rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 3 stars accessibility rating for OWL: 2 stars accessibility rating for Piazza: 3 stars accessibility rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 2 stars accessibility rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 2 stars accessibility rating for Teams - Microsoft: 3 stars
Technical technical rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Piazza: 1 stars technical rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 3 stars technical rating for Teams - Microsoft: 1 stars
Mobile Design mobile-design rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 3 stars mobile-design rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: 2 stars mobile-design rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 1 stars mobile-design rating for OWL: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Piazza: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 3 stars mobile-design rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 1 stars mobile-design rating for Teams - Microsoft: 2 stars
Usage & Account Set Up usage-account rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: 3 stars usage-account rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 3 stars usage-account rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: 2 stars usage-account rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 3 stars usage-account rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 2 stars usage-account rating for OWL: 3 stars usage-account rating for Piazza: 1 stars usage-account rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 3 stars usage-account rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 3 stars usage-account rating for Teams - Microsoft: 3 stars
Social Presence social-presence rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: 2 stars social-presence rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 1 stars social-presence rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: 2 stars social-presence rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 2 stars social-presence rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 2 stars social-presence rating for OWL: 3 stars social-presence rating for Piazza: 2 stars social-presence rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 2 stars social-presence rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 1 stars social-presence rating for Teams - Microsoft: 2 stars
Instructor Presence instructor-presence rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: 1 stars instructor-presence rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for OWL: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for Piazza: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for Teams - Microsoft: 1 stars
Cognitive Presence cognitive-presence rating for Announcements Tool - OWL: na stars cognitive-presence rating for Calendar Tool - OWL: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Email Archive Tool - OWL: na stars cognitive-presence rating for Forums Tool - OWL: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Messages Tool - OWL: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for OWL: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Piazza: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Podcasts Tool - OWL: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Syllabus Tool - OWL: 2 stars cognitive-presence rating for Teams - Microsoft: 2 stars

Literature

Baker, C. (2010). The impact of instructor immediacy and presence for online student affective learning, cognition, and motivation. Journal of Educators Online, 7(1), 1-30. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ904072
Communication tools allow instructors avenues for being more present with their students, reducing the psychological and physical distance between them and their students. This paper investigates how this presence impacts student learning, thinking, and motivation.

Putulowski, J. R. & Crosby III, R. G. (2017). Effect of personalized instructor-student email and text messages on online students’ perceived course quality, social integration with faculty, and institutional commitment. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, & Practice, 0(0), 1-18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025117696823
Consistent professor-student communication (i.e. receiving weekly, personalized communications early in the course) had a demonstrated positive effect on course evaluation scores. The authors suggest that weekly messages had the greater impact in the beginning of the course when students were more likely to feel confused or disoriented in their new learning environment.

Vonderwall, S. (2003). An examination of asynchronous communication experiences and perspectives of students in an online course: a case study. The Internet and Higher Education, 6(1), 77-90. doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/S1096-7516(02)00164-1
Asynchronous communication in an online course introduces something of a delay factor. Instructors should be prepared to give prompt feedback and response to students’ inquiries and questions; something that mass communication tools can help support.