The Pioneer Post

The Pioneer Post is a resource for online students that provides tips and information about distance education.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Part of  "The Great '-ate's" blog series

By Stephanie Cooley

The ability to communicate effectively is a skill that improves your chance of success in anything you do and at any point in your life. It is especially important if you are an online learner because, for the most part, you won’t have access to one of the main components of effective communication: visual cues.

At the most basic level, there are some practices that will help you communicate effectively with your instructor and classmates:
  • Write your name and contact information on each assignment. Also, it doesn't hurt to include your course number and the instructor’s name.
  • Keep a copy of each assignment you turn in.
  • If you experience computer/internet technical difficulties, either immediately repair the system, or contact your instructor by phone to explain your "absence" from class. Ask him/her for advice on how best to proceed.
  • Identify yourself in all class communications to ensure that you are receiving appropriate class credit.
  • Use appropriate subject lines in your e-mails. Check with your instructor if there is a certain format they would like your messages to follow.
  • Read all messages sent to the class group or via e-mail. Be on the lookout for messages from your instructor or others answering questions you might have.
  • When commenting on your class posting boards, make meaningful, relevant comments only.
Learning online can seem isolating, especially compared to the traditional classroom environment. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are studying a language like Spanish or Japanese and know someone who speaks the language fluently, ask if they, or someone they know, might like to do a language exchange with you. Get a mentor. If there is someone in your workplace that already has the degree you are seeking, ask if you can take them for coffee once a month to get career advice or discuss topics related to your field. They can also discuss real world applications of the theories you are learning about. Look into joining a club or professional organization in your area that is related to your career choice. These connections could be a valuable resource once you have earned your degree. Effectively communicating with your instructor, your classmates, your coworkers, and your community can have an enormous impact on your education!

UP NEXT… Motivate

About this series

Being an online student can be trying at times. We want to give you the knowledge and knowhow to navigate the waters of distance education. This continuing series, which builds upon words that end in “-ate,” is meant to offer tips and techniques for those interested in distance education, as well as for those who are current distance students.

See other blogs that are part of this series:



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