Communication Tools

UNM Learn offers several great tools you can use to communicate with your students.  Here is a little bit about the most popular ones:

Email (External Email)

Email is initiated inside Learn, and sent out to students' UNM-preferred addresses.  This tool is flexible--allowing you to message individual students, groups or the entire class. Once sent, conversations are continued OUTSIDE learn.  This has good and bad consequences depending on the habits of the individuals involved.  For example, some instructors feel their UNM mailboxes are already overflowing--course emails could possibly get lost in the shuffle.  On the student side, we have known cases where students did/do not check their UNM email account.  If external email is going to serve an important function in your Learn course, make sure students know to check their UNM email regularly.  UNM email accounts can be forwarded to a different address.  This can be modified through http://dss.unm.edu or by logging into the portal (my.unm.edu) and accessing Demographic Self Service from the link on the top right side of the home page.  NOTE: students or instructors with an email address @salud.unm.edu MUST use that account due to HIPAA security regulations.  Changes made via DSS are overwritten automatically overnight every night.

Course Messages

Course Messages are initiated inside Learn and STAY inside Learn.  This tool also has advantages and disadvantages.  The advantage is that all correspondence for the course resides in one place.  Students cannot claim that their spam filter waylaid important correspondence.  Instructors may find it easier to make sure they replied to all student messages. The major disadvantage is that you must be logged into Learn to read new mail and reply.  For a hybrid approach, you can modify your Notifications to have Learn send an external email when a new Course Message arrives.  It has a link that will take you to the login page, then directly to that item.

In general, we recommend implementing one or the other, then communicating that choice clearly to students.  Using both tends to be confusing. 

How to Add A Tool Link
To make one of these tools available to students, we suggest adding a Tool link to your Course Menu
   1. Make sure Edit mode is on (green).
   2. Over on the top left, click the plus sign/ then pick Tool Link.  
   3. Type a name (eg. External/ UNM Email, Course Messages). 
   4. From the drop down menu choose the desired tool. 
   5. Put a check in Available to Users
   6. Submit.

Announcements

Announcements are great way to post reminders, clarifications, changes in the schedule etc.  Using the instructions above, you may want to add a link to Announcements in the course menu.  They also appear in a box on the My Courses page.  Announcements can be created ahead of time, and assigned visibility dates.  Or if you are making them as you go, you can pick the option to have an extra copy emailed to students (it will go to their UNM-preferred email address).