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Getting Smarter through Language

How to Become a More Effective Online Learner | Page 5

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Improve Your Communication Skills

If your courses have instructors or teachers, it is important to communicate with them effectively so your experience runs smoothly. Below are a few recommendations to improve communication in your online courses.

Improving online communication

Communicate issues as soon as possible. Do not wait until a small issue becomes a big problem. Instructors will be more receptive and flexible if you communicate difficulties or problems as they come up as opposed to when it is too late to solve them.

If you do not understand instructions or the course content, first try to figure it out on your own, then ask for clarification if you still have difficulties.

When communicating with the instructor, be concise but be clear. To be concise, leave out unnecessary information while explaining exactly what the issue is.
For example, if you are having difficulties completing an exercise, mention exactly what the exercise is and what kind of problem you are having with it.

Make sure emails have the following parts:

  • a meaningful subject line so that the recipient knows what the message is likely about just by looking at the email list in the mailbox;
  • an appropriate greeting (e.g., “Good morning, Professor Ecks”);
  • a clear body, that is, the paragraph or paragraphs organizing the important information;
  • an appropriate closing (e.g., “Thank you for your assistance”); and
  • your signature, that is, your name (and, if appropriate, your course and section).
  • If you request a callback, include your contact telephone number (usually below your signature) even if the recipient already has your number.

Note. For more information on effective and ineffective email messages in online courses, watch the livestream event about the topic of this course.

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