Semester Start: A Focus on Relationships


Building connections with students early in the semester is critical to their sense of belonging–both in your course and at USM. The USM Essential Connections program is a commitment to classroom practices which foster intentional connections with and among your students.

Learn more about the program and find resources and ideas on building these relationships by checking out the first two modules of the Brightspace Essential Connections program site here.

Attention CAHS faculty: Contact Lisa Walker, Associate Dean, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHS), at to join the CAHS specific Brightspace site.

Book cover for Relationship-Rich Education - How Human Connections Drive Success in College by Peter Felten and Leo M. Lambert

Felton and Lambert’s book, Relationship-Rich Education, grounds much of the Essential Connections model. USM’s e-copy of Relationship-Rich Education can be accessed here.

Brightspace Tip: You Can Monitor student access to your course site.

Which students have accessed your course in the  first week? Go to the Course Resources pull down, and click on Classlist. You will see a column labeled “Last Access”. This shows the date of login for each student in your class.
Any student who hasn’t logged in at least once in the first week should receive a message from you. You can click the menu next to the student’s name and select Send Email.

Let them know how important it is to log into the course, and state your weekly expectations for how frequently. Offer support resources if they are having technical issues.

Screenshot of the Classlist on Brightspace showing Date Accessed column all the way to the right, and the "Send Email" link as the first menu item from the down arrow button next to the student's name.

Happy to help.

Contact us with any questions or concerns at