Although often only viewed as an administrative task, email communications are a hidden gem for online instructors who are looking for an opportunity to foster student connection and engagement in their courses. The ways in which online instructors reply to a student’s email can help or hinder all other efforts – course preparation, planned interactions, the perfectly crafted welcome message, among others – to develop genuine connections with students. By reframing how email is viewed and responses are crafted, exploring different approaches for responding to students’ questions, and practicing human-first viewpoints in the absence of communication markers or visual cues, online instructors will log off from this virtual workshop with a foundational toolkit for handling email communications with distance students.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, the participant will be able to:

  • Develop a toolkit that can help in responding to student emails, rooted in human-first communication and with the goal of fostering connectedness.
  • Describe the importance of informal and unplanned interactions with students and their impact on student engagement.




View the workshop syllabus.


60 minutes


UA faculty, staff, and graduate students



You may also be interested in: