Before You Hit Send...

Concurrent Session 3 & 4 (combined)
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Have you ever wished you could retract a communication?  Have you ever received a communication that evoked an unexpected emotional reaction?  If you answered yes to either one of these questions, you may want to explore your communication/emotional IQ.  This workshop focuses on how we receive and respond to communications. 


Holly Love is a Faculty Manager at Grand Canyon University. She has over 15 years of experience in the field of education. Her journey started off as a secondary special education instructor through her two degrees from Arizona State University. She has also worked as a liaison and site supervisor for Rio Salado College prior to becoming a full time online faculty member at GCU. Through her 9 years of experience in higher education, she has attended multiple conferences and has spoken to many faculty regarding topics that enhance and encourage faculty to move forward in their own professional journey in the classroom.
Georgette Gorman has a Master's degree in Psychology with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a graduate certificate in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors. As a Faculty Chair in Faculty Training & Development at Grand Canyon University, she is responsible for providing all faculty with the training needed for them to be successful in the classroom. Georgette is also an adjunct instructor who teaches traditional and online classes at Grand Canyon University and Phoenix College. In addition, Georgette serves on the Faculty Advisory Board. In this capacity she works with faculty to develop faculty-driven initiatives and professional development. Georgette has a passion for collaborating with others and sharing best-practices to help increase student engagement and outcomes.

Extended Abstract

The typical college student is not so typical anymore. Online classes include a diverse population of students. Our students come from different cultures and different generations. Many are balancing work and family obligations. According to research “… the fully-online student is enrolled in university part-time and gainfully employed full-time (Colorado & Eberle 2010). Kahu and colleagues (2013) found that many students chose to study fully online to combine university learning with employment demands (Johnson, 2015, Article 4).” Now, as many colleges and universities respond to stay-at-home orders, remote synchronous learning has resulted in blended classes with some students struggling with learning in an online environment. Those students lack self-regulation and miss the face-to-face interaction and relationships that a traditional campus class provides.  Now, more than ever, it is critical to understand the learners who we are teaching and their communication styles. 

Participants who attend this workshop will:

  1. Understand emotional regulation and will be provided strategies for modeling this behavior.
  2. Understand the role of perception in receiving communications and will be confident that the messages they intended to communicate are being received.
  3. Be able to incorporate humor and nonverbal communication into their conversations, creating a trusting and collaborative environment.
  4. Consider the best mode for delivering their message so that communication is efficient and effective
  5. Understand the importance of emotional intelligence and how to increase it.

In order to communicate well, instructors will need to model emotional regulation for students. Many emotional regulation strategies will be discussed and practiced in this workshop. Instructors need to pause before communicating to ensure their message is not driven by emotions. They also need to understand the disinhibition effect, which is the tendency to disclose more than they normally would or act with more intensity than they normally would (Suler, 2004).  Another emotional regulation strategy, positive reappraisal, should be utilized when information is received. Positive reappraisal allows for thinking about events in more neutral terms.

Another important component to communicating well is how a person perceives information. Everyone perceives stimuli differently, based on the context we have at that moment (top-down processing). Instead, bottom-up processing, can be used to remove context and allow people to focus on the components of their text. Reading their messages out loud encourages bottom-up processing.  

This workshop will also cover the benefits of incorporating humor into communication. Humor builds trust and community, allowing for deeper collaborative discussions (McGhee, n.d.). There are appropriate times and places for adding humor. Emoticons are another tool that can help convey your message. Nonverbal communication is 70-90% of a face-to-face interaction. Emoticons serve as nonverbal communication and the stigma regarding using them has lessened (Bradberry, n.d.). As with humor, they should be used sparingly and with discretion. There are guidelines, which should be considered.

The way in which we deliver communication should also be considered in any type of student-teacher relationship.   In some instances, the message being sent in an email or post, would be better conveyed with a phone call. When a conversation requires a lot of back and forth and has the potential to gravitate to include passive aggressive comments or contains multiple topics pick up the phone.  As an activity within the workshop, participants will brainstorm other situations that would be better communicated in a voice-to-voice conversation.

The ability to manage our emotions and understand others’ emotions makes a big impact on our ability to communicate. To that end, participants will learn about emotional intelligence and how to increase it. Emotional intelligence (EI) includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills (Houston, 2020). Presenters will share their top ten list on how to increase emotional intelligence, including tips on increasing one’s own self-awareness and becoming more empathetic.

This workshop will include a variety of interactive experiences:

  • Quick Poll (Have you ever regretted sending an email?)
  • Clickable Poll (How does receiving this email make you feel?)
  • Quick Poll (What character do you see?)
  • Clickable Poll (What percentage of your communications include using an emoticon?)
  • Breakout Groups (What situations would be better addressed with a phone call?)

Participants will leave the workshop with practical tips to avoid communication break downs to ensure that the message they intend to send is what is received.  


Bradberry, T. (n.d.). Emotionally intelligent emailing. Retrieved from

Houston, E. (2020). The importance of emotional intelligence. Retrieved from

Johnson, G. (2015). On-campus and fully-online university students: comparing demographics. Digital Technology Use and Learning Characteristics. 12(1). Article 4. 

McCord, S. (n.d.)  6 quick questions to ask yourself on that “funny” email before you hit send. Retrieved from

McGhee, P. (n.d.). Humor improves communication. Retrieved from

Should you use emojis in business email? (2019). Retreived from

Suler, J. (2004). The online disinhibition effect. Cyberpsychology Behavior 7(3). 321-6. DOI: 10.1089/1094931041291295. Retrieved from