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Communicating Clearly in Online Courses

Part of the Online Education For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Communication is vital in all forms of education, and online education is no exception. The following are a few tips to help you communicate effectively online:

  • Get to the point. Succinct writing is valued.

  • Always reference other authors; use proper citation methods! Your instructor will tell you which specific method to use.

  • Don’t type in all caps. It’s like shouting.

  • Be aware that anything written can be misconstrued. Try to write as if your grandmother would read it — use polite and professional language without innuendos or sarcasm.

  • If you’re working on a group project, copy the instructor if you’re using e-mail so she knows your group’s progress.

  • Don’t be afraid to use the phone. It’s okay to call the instructor if you have a question.

  • Don’t overpost in discussion forums. If your instructor asks for 2 posts, 4 is fine, but 14 is too many!

  • If possible, communicate special circumstances as soon as possible (family emergencies, vacations, and so forth), not after the fact.

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