- Respect. Whether the class is online or on-site, respect is essential. It allows all involved parties to focus on the objective and prevents distracting disagreements. Be sure to use a polite tone, read before responding and be constructive with your criticism. It’s important to treat all online interactions the same as face-to-face interactions.
- Use Proper Formatting, Punctuation and Grammar. Though online communication is still new, the same rules of English apply in a classroom setting. Capitalize letters when necessary, use appropriate punctuation and avoid using slang and abbreviations. You’ll not only make your posts easier to read; you’ll demonstrate your professionalism and personal value.
- Be Honest. Because tone is difficult to convey online, sarcasm or humor can easily be misinterpreted. Though you may be tempted to joke around with your classmates, something written for a laugh may offend others. If you are unsure whether your message will be misconstrued, consider using an emoticon to lighten the tone.
- Go to Your Teacher First. If you have a disagreement or issue with a fellow classmate, go to your teacher before the situation escalates. It’s best to make your teacher aware of the situation before it affects the classroom dynamics or the way you engage with your peers.
- Stay on Topic, and Keep it Brief. Online classes require a lot of reading, and when responding, it may be difficult to decide where to start. Focus your comments into short topics to keep the conversation flowing. Avoid being too wordy, and instead say what you need to say without veering off topic.
Although using a more formal tone online might seem unusual at first, by keeping your online conversations respectful and direct, you’ll clear the way for easy communication.