In the online classroom,
most communication takes place through writing. What does this mean to online students?
can enable you to get to know your instructor and classmates on a deep, rather
than just a superficial, level. Communicating through the written
word enables you to think through your ideas thoroughly before presenting them.
And, you can take the time to make sure your words express exactly what
you want to say.
writing abilities are limited, you may need to take some additional writing classes
before or as part of your online learning experience.
Discussion boards, email, and chat make online classes a truly
interactive way to learn - often more interactive than participating in a traditional
Most CGCC Online courses utilize a forum.
The forum allows
students and instructors to "post" and reply to text-based messages. You can post and read messages
when it is convenient for you rather than at a scheduled time.
The forum 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 individual reply is grouped with the original
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 savvy
to use it well.
Some things to keep in mind about email:
Double check to whom you're sending email. It can be embarrassing when an
email that you meant for one person ends up being read by others.
Using all capital letters in email is equivalent to shouting.
Use a meaningful subject line so your readers will
have a clear idea of what your message is about.
Don't forward others' messages without asking first. While you should always
write your email messages assuming others may see them,
it is considered very rude to forward someone else's message without asking
Misunderstandings are more common with email than other communication
Times to use the phone instead of email:
When security is necessary. A private conversation
or phone call is more secure than email, which can be distributed to many
Email is best for the dissemination of facts. When you're dealing
with an emotionally charged subject, you may want to use the phone instead.
When it's a group discussion (or use chats, bulletin boards, or teleconferences).
When you're communicating with someone who
doesn't read or respond to email regularly and you need an immediate response.
When it's hard to discuss the topic in
writing without being intimidating or rude.
When you have a series of questions for
someone that will take awhile to answer.
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 need to "think on your feet" (or fingers) and 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 to "speak" (type) so the conversation can be more easily
The advantage of chats is that they allow people in separate
locations to "talk" to one another in real time.
There are special rules of personal conduct that apply to all online communications.
Here is a sampling of some of them.
In general, email and bulletin board messages should be short and to the
point (although there are exceptions to this rule, such as assignments that
are submitted by email or bulletin board. But generally you'll be submitting
assignments as file attachments).
Make sure to have a meaningful subject line for your email and message board
contributions so others will know what to expect.
Be polite and respectful. It can be tempting to let yourself go in an environment
that feels anonymous, but remember that there are real people reading your
messages. Good online manners are vital to a productive and supportive online
Be tolerant of views expressed by others. Your CGCC online classroom may
well be bringing you together with people from all over the world. Keep in
mind that you probably have something to gain from exposure to views and backgrounds
different than your own.
When reacting to someone else's message, address the ideas, not the person.
Again, remember that there are real people on the other end.
Be careful when using sarcasm and humor, and don't include any obscenities
in your messages. Without face-to-face communications, people may take your
humor personally, and you never know who may be offended by expressions that
are commonplace to you.
Don't send commercial advertisements or "chain mail"
to your classmates.