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.