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7 Ways To Impress In Online Class Discussions

by Kaitlyn Wightman
Marketing Specialist

August 18, 2014

Online class discussions are a great way for you to deepen your understanding of the classroom material, present your views on the subject to your professor and interact with your fellow classmates. 

It’s also an opportunity where the discussion can get off course or, worse, derail and crash. 

Avoid a disaster like this by choosing to communicate more effectively. We recommend these seven online etiquette tips so that your online class discussion stays on track and brings value to your online degree


Don’t hide in the cyberspace background. Speak up. This is the time to show your professor that you know your stuff. Contributing to the conversation helps you solidify your grasp on the subject and may even spark ideas for future class assignments. 

Keep Your Comments Focused

Be brief when possible. Contributing too much to the conversation can be just as damaging to the discussion as not contributing enough. If it’s not related or relevant to the presented topic, don’t include it. 

Erase The Emoticons

Acknowledge that this online class discussion is a formal setting. Would you use abbreviations and smiley faces in a cover letter or a term paper? 

Read It All

No one wants to read the same thought twice. Read through everyone’s contribution to make sure that what you want to write hasn’t already been stated. If it has, think of ways you can expand upon the expressed thought. 

Cite Your Sources

If your response includes the intellectual property of others—that includes books, newspapers, textbooks, journals and websites—then give proper attribution. Refer to your style guide on how to cite your sources correctly. 

Be Respectful

No name-calling, please. If you disagree with a classmate’s opinion or interpretation of the topic, express your thoughts calmly and maturely. That includes turning off the caps lock and eliminating the sarcasm from your comments. 

Help Out

If your classmates state that they don’t understand class material during the online class discussion, give them a helping hand. Explain the material in a different way or suggest other text sources or websites for them to help in their understanding.

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