Project Description

Managing Expectations

It’s about Communication

Every day, at work, at home, at university, even on holiday we deal with expectations. Expectations are beliefs we have about something as it will be in the future (Pitagorsky 2017). Therefore the best way to manage expectations is to communicate them early and often.


My expectations, your expectations

What springs to mind when you think about managing expectations when teaching? Do you think it’s about you explaining to students what you expect from them? I’m sure you’ll agree that managing expectations is also about what students can expect from you.

Learning Context

Strategies for managing expectations

Be clear, in the first week what you expect from your students.

  • Make sure that you communicate your expectations to your students’ right from the start, and make sure that this is very clear and unambiguous.
  • Advise students of communication methods e.g. face-to-face tutorials, discussion board, email etc.
  • Courtesy and respect to each other and to staff
  • Submission of assessments by due dates unless there are unavoidable circumstances
  • Encourage students to post course related questions via the discussion board where all students can benefit from your responses rather than sending these questions via email direct to tutors (unless the query is private and personal).
  • On the discussion board, encourage peers to respond to student queries where appropriate to encourage interaction and peer-to-peer learning.

Be clear on what your students can expect from you. 

  • Explain your availability and time commitments e.g. allocate specific time frames for responding to student queries and communicate this to the students.
  • Courtesy and respect.
  • Students often complete work late at night or on weekends, so providing prompt responses on the discussion board or via email may not be realistic (but students may still expect it!). You may have to provide some indication of times when you will be reading discussion posts, and answering emails.
  • Similarly, let students know when to expect feedback and grades on their submitted assessments. Make sure you stick to this turnaround time e.g. no more than 10 working days in accordance with RMIT Assessment Policies (RMIT University 2018, p. 8).


  • Pitagorsky G 2017, Using mindfulness to manage your expectations, Mindful, viewed 1 March 2018, Link 
  • RMIT University 2018, Assessment Processes February 2018, viewed 1 March 2018, Link