Communicate with Students

"two conversation bubbles on a pale blue background"Sections:

Email and News
Office Hours and Chat
Class Discussions

Best Practices

  • Maximize the use of onQ, then other Queen's supported tools before considering other technology.
  • Communicate early, often, and through consistent channels.
  • Set clear expectations - both for students and from you as the instructor - with regard to course communication practices.
  • Explicitly establish a shared expectation about when and where students should check for course announcements communications.
  • Be consistent with the days and times you are available for office hours where possible.
  • For more on best practices in communicating with students, see the Transforming Teaching Communications Guide.
Tool Description

Email and News

onQ Classlist Email Use the Classlist Email to communicate with the whole class, groups, or individuals.
onQ Announcements (News) The Announcements tool enables you to create announcement items that help communicate course updates, changes and new information to your students quickly and effectively. Announcement items appear in the Announcements widget, but students can also opt-in to receive announcements through instant notifications through email, and text messages under their account settings.

onQ Intelligent Agents

Intelligent Agents are set up by the instructor to delegate certain tasks based on criteria that are met. The Intelligent Agent will then act on the instructor behalf and send an automated notification.

Use the Intelligent Agents tool in your course to:

  • Email students if they have not logged into onQ, or the course for a set number of days.
  • Email students to welcome them at the start of the term.
  • Email students when they achieve below a certain grade.
  • Emailing students after they view the content, or successful completion of first week, or first module.

Office Hours and Chat

onQ Chat Use the onQ Chat tool to hold text-based virtual office hours.
Create Class chats, group chats, or personal chats.
0365 Teams Start a Chat in Teams.
Use Meet Now in Teams with a student for a video-based virtual office hours.

Class Discussions

onQ Discussions   

Use Discussion Forums to encourage communication in your course:

  • Have your students introduce themselves online.
  • Encourage students to share thoughts on course material.
  • Set up a Discussions topic for students to ask questions about the course.


Tool Description

Facebook Groups

Use Facebook Groups to provide a place for your students to collaborate and communicate.

The Facebook Group Feed can be embedded directly into your onQ course.


Twitter is a micro-blogging site where the user can post 280 character message known as a Tweet.

Twitter can be embedded directly into your onQ course and can be used for course communications, or discussions.

Flipgrid Flipgrid is a video discussion platform. In Flipgrid, instructors can post discussion prompts and students respond with short videos.
Piazza Piazza is an online platform that facilitates communication among students and instructors. It’s main purpose is as a question and answer discussion board that facilitates collaborative solutions. Students ask questions that all instructors and students can see. Then, Piazza leverages the student community, allowing students to create a single answer to the question. Likewise, instructors can collaborate to create a single answer to the question. Instructors can also endorse student answers that do a sufficient job of answering the questions. (This content was adapted from the Western University eLearning Toolkit CC BY-NC-SA)

*Tools Not Supported By Queen's