In the DL classroom, most communication takes place through writing. If your writing abilities are limited, you may need to take some additional writing classes before or as part of your learning experience.
Most communication between the student and the instructor is done by e-mail within the course. In most cases you will communicate with your fellow students via e-mail or through a discussion board within your course.
Some instructors will hold chat sessions during the term for online office hours or so that you and your fellow students can discuss class work online in real time.
You may also communicate with your instructor via the telephone or in person if the need should arise.
Discussion boards, e-mail, and chat make DL classes a truly interactive way to learn; often more interactive than participating in a traditional class.
This tutorial will help you communicate effectively using online tools.
You are also responsible for following CCRI's Responsible Use of Information Technology policy.
Make sure you read and understand these policies, as violations are serious and could result in disciplinary action.
In order to make a good impression on other class participants and to behave professionally, follow this advice for all written communication:
You might already be familiar with the general rules of netiquette from using social media. These are the rules of personal conduct that apply to all web-based communications. Here is a sampling of some of them:
In your online course you might be required to complete an assignment with a group of students or discuss course topics using the discussion board. Follow this advice for successful group communications.
In group work:
You should follow all of the general and netiquette suggestions above when communicating with your professor. In addition to those rules, following this advice will help you make a good impression and ensure that your communications are productive.
Many CCRI Online courses use a discussion board. The discussion board allows students and instructors to post and reply to messages. You can post and read messages when it is convenient for you rather than at a scheduled time. In some cases, you will be able to subscribe to the discussion board so that you will receive email when somebody has posted.
The discussion board groups together messages that relate to the same topic in a threaded discussion. For example, if an instructor posts a question, then each student's reply is grouped with the original post.
Each person's response is displayed for everyone else to see. Perhaps you are interested in something written by one of your classmates; you can post a message in response to your classmate. Don't be surprised if you discover responses to what you've written from several of your classmates!
Email is a great way to communicate at times that are convenient both for you and the recipient. You will probably use email to communicate with your instructor and classmates. Email does have its limitations and it takes some practice to use it well.
Some things to keep in mind about email:
Times to use the phone instead of email:
A chat session is like a classroom discussion because the instructor and students are all participating at the same time. But unlike a classroom discussion, you are all working in separate locations from your own computers.
As you can imagine, this can sometimes be a little confusing. You will not have time to contemplate what you're going to write, as with discussion boards and email. You will have to type quickly to express your thoughts as you're thinking them. Chats can also be hard to follow. Since each contribution displays when its writer finishes typing, it is easy for conversations to be out of order. Experienced instructors find ways to remedy this: for example, your instructor might ask students to indicate when they have something to say and then call on them so the conversation can be more easily followed. (For example, your instructor might ask you to type a particular character to indicate that you're "raising your hand.")
The advantage of chats is that they allow people in separate locations to communicate with one another in real time.
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