Communication skills are crucial in any academic setting, but for an online student, clearly and effectively communicating with peers and instructors becomes even more essential.
In an online environment, interactions with others lack the nuance, facial expressions and body language that typically make face-to-face conversations so effortless. Instead, written communication takes center stage. To ensure that your meaning comes across clearly in the virtual world, consider these tips for effective online communication for the distance learner.
Brush up on your grammar and spelling
Poor writing compromises your reader’s ability to understand your meaning. It also can cast doubt on your competence and attention to detail. Invest in a good dictionary and a guide to standard English grammar and usage for honing your skills. Use spell-check software and online tools like Grammarly to catch any mistakes.
Avoid casual language
Slang and emoticons have no place in your communications as an online student. You want to put your best foot forward in all your written conversations, particularly with your instructors. Avoid abbreviations that are commonly used in texting; save the “LOLs” for friends and family.
Read before you write
Before you click “send,” take time to thoroughly read and digest what the other person has written. If an email includes several questions, be sure to answer them all rather than stopping after the first one. Failing to fully respond can frustrate the other person and require even more emails, which can waste time and clutter up both your inboxes.
Make your meaning clear
Even simple statements can be misinterpreted online. If you use an exclamation point, the other person may not know if you’re angry or excited. Before you send an online communication, read it from the perspective of the recipient. Will your meaning be perfectly clear? If not, consider rewriting.
Take advantage of available resources
With an incredible array of helpful websites and apps, you can mind-map your thoughts, compose assignments, use a dictionary and thesaurus, edit your work, and communicate through a variety of methods. Using Campus Connect, you can make use of all the university’s online services.
In addition, you can chat with Globe University’s online librarians, and you can check in with instructors during their office hours via online methods, including Skype and email.
For the online student, proper communication is critical
In your online learning journey, you’ll communicate with a variety of people, including other students, administrators and instructors. By brushing up on skills, using clear language and making use of available resources, you can effectively get your meaning across in every academic situation.