It is not uncommon for students taking online classes to feel a bit isolated at times. Without regular communication with professors and fellow students, it’s hard to know how you’re doing. That’s why regular communication with instructors should be a priority for students throughout the semester.
These helpful tips to take the guesswork out of how to interact with your professors in a comfortable and effective way.
1. Be mindful of your professor’s preferred method of communication.
Not unlike campus instructors, your online instructors will know their preferred method of communication. Make sure you use specific methods which may include:
- Discussion Forums in the Learning Management System (ie. Blackboard or Moodle)
- Email in the Learning Management System or school’s academic portal
- Telephone which is usually by appointment and in cases where email or discussion forum aren’t sufficient.
2. Be respectful in emails and messages
When emailing your professor, make sure to use proper etiquette including:
- Use a formal greeting, such as “Professor ______” or “Dr. _______”
- Include a clear subject, including assignment title (if applicable) or specific topic related to the email message.
- Be concise. Make sure to read back your email before sending to make sure that your question or message is clear.
- Keep language formal and use correct grammar. Be polite and respectful. Avoid use of abbreviations or emojis.
- Close with a friendly greeting such as “Sincerely,” “Best” or “Thank You” and be sure to include your full name, class and section number.
3. Be proactive.
Research suggests that interaction with faculty is a vital part of students’ success. Students often worry that reaching out to instructors will be somehow annoying to them. Research shows that online faculty tend to be very student–centered. Not only will they not mind you contacting them, they will expect you to communicate with them. With online learning, sending an email or posting a question in the discussion forum is no different than raising your hand and asking a question in the classroom. Regular communication is your way of participating in your class.
4. Be appropriate.
Limit questions posted in your class discussion forums to topics related directly to class curriculum and clarification of assignments. Private questions only concerning you should be addressed in a private message or email.
Colleges of Distinction: https://collegesofdistinction.com/advice/how-to-write-an-email-to-a-professor-college-freshman-guide/