Communicating Online


Since this is an online course, most communication from the professor will take place via email and through the "Announcements" section of the course map.
All electronic communication from the professor will be directed to the UM email address of the student.
Students are responsible for the content of all communications. As such, students must monitor their UM email accounts frequently and regularly throughout the course.
It is expected that students will follow the following guidelines when sending email to faculty or fellow students:

  • Use your UM email address only, as others may be filtered for spam
  • Use Subject Heading appropriately
  • Include a salutation
  • Include your name and a closing

Written assignments will be submitted electronically through the module assignment link in Blackboard, located with each assignment.

Communicate Clearly

Learning online can be a bit writing intensive. Communicating in writing is much different than communicating in person and the tools we use online to interact can vary. Your teacher may post some requirements as part of the course on how to interact properly with the available tools so be sure to follow those requirements. If not, the following recommendations should help you get started. Similar best practices are often referred to as "netiquette."

  1. Write clearly and concisely.
    Use full sentences, including proper grammar and spelling. In other words, avoid "chat" type text unless requested.
  2. Maintain your personality.
    When expressing opinions and perspectives, find ways to add humor, emotion, empathy, and other elements into your messages.
  3. Avoid plagiarism.
    Always express yourself using your own words. When using someone else's words to help describe or support your point, quote or credit your source.
  4. Create Drafts.
    When composing long messages, emails, or discussion responses, you may want to draft them off-line first to avoid any possibility of losing your work. You can also take advantage of spell and grammar checkers when drafting off-line.
  5. Email Properly.
    Always include a Subject for each email and always sign your name at the end to inform your instructor you are sending the message.

Asynchronous – Discussion Board

Asynchronous discussions take the form of posts and responses to a discussion forum. In this type of discussion, the instructor will pose a topic and require students to post a discussion, respond and perhaps analyze and evaluate their peer’s submission. Asynchronous discussion may be used to generate discussion solely among students.

Beyond Netiquette: Do's and Don'ts

  • Demonstrating courtesy online is fundamental. (Absolutely no abusive or libelous comments will be permitted.)
  • Use only your real first and last name online.
  • Confidentiality: No one else should be given access to any of the conferences (either viewing onscreen or in print), without the previous consent of all participants and conferees.
  • Copyright & Plagiarism: Do not use the words or text of others without proper acknowledgement of the source (if this was in some public source), or -- if private (as in a conference) unless you first have the author's permission.
  • The use of humor can be very tricky; sometimes it is seen as sarcasm or derision rather than as funny. Symbols or parenthetic phrases (e.g., :-) or "ha! ha!") can help to convey emotional tone and help to prevent misunderstandings.

Synchronous – Virtual Classroom

Synchronous discussions are similar to chat rooms. The instructor will organize a time for a virtual meeting using the Collaborate Ultra tool and will provide topics for discussion. Synchronous discussions move rapidly and responses must be read quickly, thus emphasizing the ideas being expressed rather than who is expressing them. Students can send private questions to the instructor and receive a private response. Instructors will often record and archive chat sessions for students to review if needed. ">here.

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