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Doing well in an online class takes more than just doing the course work. It also involves good communciation, organization and a back-up plan if technology fails.



  • Keep your posts short unless given a specific assignment by your instructor.
  • Make sure all language is appropriate. Show respect for your fellow students and your instructor. Try using emoticons with your messages (ex. :-) is a smiley face on its side) to clarify your tone.
  • Always sign your name to your messages. Some e-mail addresses don't include the person's name and you have no clue who is sending you a message.
  • When sending messages to your instructor, include the course number in the subject. That helps them identify what class you're in with just a glance.
  • Try to keep your messages limited to one subject. Don't respond to several e-mails in one message. It makes it very hard to keep track of what you are responding to.
  • Use acronyms sparingly. People can get carried away with them, and not everyone may know their meaning.
  • If you belong to a mailing list, make sure you understand how to reply. Some lists automatically reply to the whole list, while some will reply to the individual person.
  • Don't use all capital letters when writing messages. It is the equivalent of shouting on the Internet. 
  • Copyright laws apply everywhere. Don't copy something in an e-mail without citing your source.
  • Don't forward anyone's e-mail message unless you have permission.
  • Keep your messages relevant to the course.

Communicating with Professors

  • As soon as you have access to your online courses, find and review the syllabus within each course. In it you will find information about course assignments and expectations. 
  • Use professional language. This is your professor so stay away from texting lingo.
  • Give your professor time to respond. Follow their communication policy and remember that just because you are up late doesn't mean they will be.
  • If you don't understand some of the material, ask for help! Professors can't see your face to know if you are confused; so you must communicate when you don't understand something.
  • Take advantage of virtual office hours.
  • Let your professor know if you will be unable to check-in to class. They can tell when and how often you check-in to the class and some calculate that into your participation grade.


  • Keep your notes and assignments well organized both on your computer and with anything you print off. Since you essentially have one "classroom" it can be easy to get course materials mixed up.
  • Keep one calendar that has assignment deadlines written on it so that you can plan ahead and allow plenty of time to complete assignments.
  • Have a designated area in your home where you can study and not be bothered. Keep this area organized so that you know at all times where material for each of your classes is located.
  • Set aside a specific time to work on your class each day. This will help you manage your class time well and not get behind.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get online, do the work and submit assignments before the deadline. Don't lose track of time on the Internet.
  • Online classes are not easier, so allow plenty of time during the week to study and complete assignments.

page last updated 7/7/2016 12:19 PM