There are tons of options available to educators which claim to help managing classes easier and improve student engagement… but we think the simplest way to do this is to improve communication.
RocketChat is a great solution for classrooms because it fulfils most of the needs of educators with an interface that feels natural and conversational.
Here are some common tasks educators face and how they can be tackled with RocketChat:
Communicating information about the class (syllabus, assignment descriptions etc…)
Simply create a ‘read-only’ channel (called something like
#announcements) which you can post important information to. Because no one else can post messages you’ll be sure that nothing gets lost and all your posts are easily visible.
To further highlight the most important info within the channel (things like assignments which are due soon) simply pin the relevant messages – they’ll always show up listed in the pinned items.
Sharing files (assigned readings, PDFs for instance)
Its easy to simply drag and drop files into chats. You can drop any documents (word, excel, PDF etc…) into specific conversations or the
#announcements channel to make sure that students can immediately download what they need to.
Use video calls to extend the classroom
You can use video conferencing directly in RocketChat to connect with students or bring guests visually into the classroom (connecting your computer to a projector/tv display etc…) or even hold classes for remote students.
Audio and video messages
You can record audio or video directly into chat allowing you to tell students what they should be working on daily or weekly via video – like your own private video blog, which is far more engaging than just text chat.
As well, you can solicit videos or audio messages directly from students – they can use this feature to record perspective pieces on a topic directly to chat using their browser (or RocketChat’s desktop apps.)
Collecting work back from students
Students can upload files of their work through chat – and you can choose what works best for your class (set guidelines in the posted assignment descriptions to either direct message you back with their work or to post it in a private group or public channel, if say the work is collaborative and will need peer feedback from the class.)
Because all messages are time-stamped you can tell when the student uploaded their work to measure against assignment deadlines.
Giving students direct feedback on their work
Simply jump into a direct messaging conversation with each student to discuss their work – you can keep an on-going conversation with students that allows you to easily reference previous submissions or things you’ve talked about and files you’ve exchanged, plus share links (including youtube videos.)
Sending announcements to the whole class
Simply post a message starting with ‘@all’ to notify everyone in the specific room/channel (i.e. to notify all students post in whatever default channel you’re using that everyone is a member of.)
You can also send a notification of your message to all active members in a specific room/channel by starting it with ‘@here’
Organizing students into groups
In addition to using public channels for conversations and announcements which pertain to all students/members, you can either create groups for each class/project or leave that up to students to self-organize!
With RocketChat students can instantly start conversations with each other for focused collaboration around a specific topic, sharing links, files etc…
Also published on Medium.