Communicating Online With Students

Overview & Reminder

This page overviews core communication tools available at Pima through D2L Brightspace which are also promoted within the first weekly module of our TE125 TEACH course for faculty. As you review the options below, keep in mind what you believe about effective faculty-student communication - and let those beliefs guide how you use these tools.

Review of Core Tools

Email Students Using The Classlist Tool

At Pima, the Classlist tool can be found under the Course Resources tab. Here, you will find a list of all enrolled students, their usernames, profile images (if posted by the student) and the date they last accessed the course.

To send a quick email to from this tool (e.g. to all students or those who haven't been online recently), select one, more or all of the students, then click the blue Email icon.

Note: This video is set to begin at 0:39. The first part of the video overviews an "Instant Message" feature that is not currently enabled at Pima.

Create Whole-Class Announcements Using The Announcements Tool

The Announcements tool, by default, lives on your homepage and is pretty intuitive for faculty to learn. In most courses, it is the first thing students see when they visit your D2L classroom. The College also posts global messages to all students using this tool (e.g. alerting to students when D2L or a third-party tool is down due to a technical issue).

Creating VideoNotes (for most D2L tools)

For a text-and-image overview of the tool, visit "Using Video Note in D2L Brightspace," the other PCC: Portland Community College.

Additional Tools

Help Students Stay Aware of Your Announcements

Watch this video to learn how to adjust your own notification settings. As you personalize your classes, consider including guidance for students on how to set their own notifications from the PimaOnline Student Guide.

The Activity Feed Widget

This homepage tool now appears by default in most Pima courses. This tool can be especially for creating a social, non-graded space for peer interaction. If that's your goal, make sure to adjust the settings to enable student posts - and rename the widget as you see fit.

The Old-School Chat Room

To get a sense of how this tool can be used for live, real-time, virtual text-based chats, watch this video from Canisius College or visit this tutorial at Vanderbilt.

Pima Faculty FAQs (click question to view answer)

How can I schedule meetings for one-to-one conferences with my students?

Here are some options that may work for you:

  • has a free version enabling faculty to create a dedicated page where students can select meeting times at prespecified lengths.

  • Google's little-known "Appointment Slots" feature provides a built-in option within the Google Calendar that enables students to select any available times that work best for them. It's not as flashy as Calendly but gets the job done.

  • Other options currently include: 1) setting up recurring Google Meet invitations that students can RSVP through their Google Calendar join together - though there is no "waiting room" option; 2) setting up recurring Zoom office hours that students can RSVP for through their Google Calendar - and then utilize the waiting room feature so that the instructor can select which student or groups of students join together; or, 3) set up Bongo Virtual Classroom Meetings through D2L Brightspace.

  • Create self-enrollment groups within D2L Brightspace which enable students to self enroll in groups that are designated to meet at specific times. Attach meeting times and meeting links to each group's description.

Does D2L Brightspace have a class messenger tool available at Pima?

No. For this practice, some faculty recommend using for individual or whole-class texting.

Core D2L Communication Tools

Advanced D2L Communication Tools

Return to our Teaching Resources page