Communication to Support Student Learning in a Digital Learning Environment

Educators must demonstrate a basic understanding of what communication is in the 4Cs framework and use it with digital resources to support learning in their classrooms.
Made by Friday Institute @ NC State

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator provides evidence of their understanding of communication and outlines and provides evidence of a lesson that uses technology to support students’ use of communication in learning.

Method Components

What are the 4Cs?

The 4Cs for 21st century learning are Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration. They are part of the framework for 21st Century Learning and are designed to support student learning in today’s world and are skills they can use in college and career.

What is communication (and what isn’t it)?

The P21 framework emphasizes effective use of oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills for multiple purposes (e.g., to inform, instruct, motivate, persuade, and share ideas). It also focuses on effective listening, using technology to communicate, and being able to evaluate the effectiveness of communication efforts—all within diverse contexts (adapted from P21). Note that working in partners is a great way to collaborate or build shared understanding but a critical part of communication is sharing with an authentic audience.

Example strategies that use technology to support communication in the classroom:

  • Host a TED-style conference or showcases for your students to present original ideas on a topic of interest to them to an authentic, external audience. Record and post the videos to a youtube stream.
  • Provide opportunities to listen and ask questions through back channel tools like Today’s Meet or even Twitter.
  • Have your students publish their work through blogs, by creating websites, and by building other online resources that are shared with authentic audiences.
  • For other ideas see the resources below.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Bannan-Ritland, B. (2002). Computer-mediated communication, elearning, and interactivity: A review of the research. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(2), 161-79.

  • Dwyer, K. K., Bingham, S. G., Carlson, R. E., Prisbell, M., Cruz, A. M., & Fus, D. A. (2004). Communication and connectedness in the classroom: Development of the connected classroom climate inventory. Communication Research Reports, 21(3), 264-272.
  • Wiemann, J. M., & Backlund, P. (1980). Current theory and research in communicative competence. Review of how does it achieve its effects? American Educational Research Journal, 50(1), 185-199.
  • Greene, J. A., Seung, B. Y., & Copeland, D. Z. (2014). Measuring critical components of digital literacy and their relationships with learning. Computers & Education, 76, 55-69


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential you must receive a "passing" for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(250-word limit)

How do you define communication in a digital classroom?

(250-word limit)

Describe your lesson - how did you use communication and technology together to support students’ learning?

Part 2. Work Examples / Artifacts

Please provide an artifact that demonstrates your use of communication skills and technology to support student learning.

Part 3. Educator Reflection

(500-word limit)

How did technology change students’ ability to communicate? Were you able to create a more meaningful experience for students by utilizing technology? Explain your thinking

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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