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Communicating with students through VU Collaborate



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There are many ways that you can communicate with students and they can communicate with each other in VU Collaborate.  You can also create automatic emails to go out to students based on their behaviour in the unit space. Read our common questions on these tools.

How can I send announcements to all of my students?

Use news items to broadcast useful information to everyone in your unit or course. You can even customise the news item so that it’s addressed to each student by using their own name by inserting “Hi {FirstName}”.  Ensure you publish news items and do not accidentally save them as drafts. Draft news items are not displayed to students.

How can I send an email out to all students or groups of students?

The best way to email all students is to go into the Classlist tool (through Space Admin) and click on the “Email Classlist” button at the top of the page. Click on “Show Search Options”, change the ‘Role’ filter to Student and click on the blue magnifying glass icon to display students only. If you would like to e-mail a group of students, change the “View By” field from ‘User’ to ‘Groups’. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Send Email”. Note that these will BCC all students so they cannot see each other’s e-mail addresses.

How can I talk with all students online?

The Chat Room tool is a real-time, text-based collaboration tool. You can use the Chat Room tool to brainstorm ideas, hold a question and answer period, have a debate or discussion, or organise a remote study group. Create personal chat rooms to engage with students in a live environment.

What about running sessions online?

You can create and use virtual classrooms for tutorials or discussions at any time.  This is especially useful if you have online courses or a blended course where many students are not available to come onto the campus for classes or discussions.  Use a WebEx Virtual Classroom to share materials and discuss topics in real-time.  Download and install WebEx on your computer and you are then able to join a session with someone else or host your own virtual class. 

What are Intelligent Agents?

Intelligent Agents can be used to send emails to students according to set criteria. For example, if a student scores below 50% on a quiz, you can create an automated email to offer support, a makeup assessment or a reminder when upcoming assessments are. It is also possible to send reminders if students are not engaging with content on a regular basis. Setting up Intelligent Agents is simple, and easiest to do at the beginning of the semester.

How can I personalise the intelligent agent email?

If you want to personalise the intelligent agent email, use strings. Strings are easy ways of automatically adding student or unit information from the system without manually inserting the information yourself. An example of this would be instead of saying ‘Hi Student’, you could say ‘Hi John’ by putting in the email message Hi {InitiatingUserFirstName}. There are a number of strings you can copy when creating Intelligent Agents.

How do I know if an intelligent agent is running?

When creating an Intelligent Agent, make sure you select the Agent Is Enabled checkbox so it’s actively running. Secondly, ensure you define a schedule when creating Intelligent Agents; this enables the system to search for any students that match the conditions you specified. 

For more information on communicating in VU Collaborate, please visit the Communication Section on the Learning Environments Help site. If you encounter any issues, please contact the ITS Service Desk by phone on (03) 9919 2777, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or self-service.

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