Improving Student-Faculty Virtual Connections Via Emojis in Online Classes


  • Milena Quaresma Franzini
  • Pedro Ganatchian Barros Pilli


College online classes often lack the interpersonal connections found in traditional classrooms, mainly because of the absence of non-verbal communication cues. This paper explores the potential of emojis to bridge this gap in virtual learning environments. Emojis, graphical representations of emotions, expressions, and gestures, have become part of digital communication, especially among college students. However, their place in academic settings remains a question. This paper addresses the hesitation of both students and faculty to use emojis in educational communication caused by concerns about maintaining professionalism and perceived credibility in an educational relationship with asymmetric power. Research reveals that, despite these reservations, emojis can enhance the emotional quality of messages, clarify intentions, prevent miscommunications, and create a sense of connection in the digital realm. Findings indicate that emojis, when used appropriately, do not undermine the credibility of faculty. Instead, emojis can humanize educators, enhance student engagement, and build a warmer online classroom community. This paper explores the possibility that integrating emojis into online educational communications, with mindful consideration of context and professional boundaries, can be an effective strategy to enrich the virtual learning experience, resulting in more engaged and empathetic student-faculty interactions.