6.3.1 Setting expectations

Course subject(s) 6. Teach your blended course

Before participants begin a course, they have expectations on how interactions will take place between peers and the course team. Clarify participant expectations, particularly how often learners will hear from you and how/where they should contact you such as general questions in a forum and specific grading questions via email.

Review the moderation tips below as you consider your learner’s expectations.

Setting Expectations

Learner experience is affected by how and when the course team communicates. Thus, setting expectations with typical response time, how questions are prioritized, and stating blackout dates will improve the student experience.

Typical Response Time

Let learners know how often you will be responding and what the turn around time will be for responses to their questions. A typical response time would be 24-48 hours, thus you can state that as your typical response time with explained exceptions. For example, if your course falls over the December holiday break, you may respond closer to 48-72 hours, thus stating that clearly will improve the experience for the learners.


Make it clear as to which kinds of questions you will prioritize. You may follow an approach in which you encourage learners to answer each other’s questions before you jump in.

If you are not going to respond to everyone (due to the size of the course), then clearly state that. Otherwise, learners may feel that you are not interacting with them but you are with others. As such, if you interact with 1 student in particular more than others, the other students may feel discouraged.

Blackout Dates

Blackout dates are when you are absolutely not going to respond to anyone or when you will be very delayed. Because of these dates, we suggest that you select a backup person for your tasks whether the timing is planned or an emergency. Clearly stating that you will check your email and your course twice during the holiday break is important for learners to feel supported.
If you are experiencing health issues causing delays in response, it is critical to state that you will be delayed in responding and be realistic with the delays. Also if you state that you will be delayed, but still respond with normal speed, you send mixed signals to your learners. So, if you are sick, get well.

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Blending your Education by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://digitelpro.eadtu.eu/course-programmes/blended-education/
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