Without a live class to keep you in touch with your classmates and instructor, written communication becomes extremely important in online courses. Through e-mail, online discussion boards and chat rooms, you can feel just as connected to your classmates and instructor as you do with your family and friends when using the phone or text messaging. One advantage of online communication is that you have time to think about your comments before posting them online. This is often referred to as reflective thinking.
- Be prepared to communicate through writing. Discussion boards, chat rooms and e-mails are frequently used in online classes. Be sure to use correct spelling and grammar, not text messaging “lingo.”
- Be ready to ask questions. Remember, your instructor cannot read your mind and cannot see you to read your body language. If you are lost, confused, or unsure about anything, ask a question via e-mail or by posting in the discussion board.
- Practice Netiquette (etiquette on the Net). Be polite and respect others in discussions. Readers cannot see your mood. Humor is particularly difficult, because when reading sarcasm, for example, the reader can’t tell if you are serious or not because he/she cannot read your body language or hear your tone of voice. You might find these useful key combinations (called emoticons) useful in conveying your emotional tone in a message. Check out other widely-practiced netiquette tips for online communication or try out these quizzes (level 1 & level 2) to see how much you already know about netiquette in online courses.