How to Stand Out in an Online School

September 11, 2011 by  
Filed under About Online Degrees

How to Stand Out in an Online School

Earning a degree from an online school is a new and exciting way for people to go back to school while tailoring their school experience to their lifestyles. Online classes are still taught be teachers, and as with any school experience, a positive relationship with a teacher can go a long way in helping with classwork, future courses, and even as a potential professional reference. Since there is no physical classroom, standing out can be difficult, here are some tips on how to stand out in an online classroom.

Participate

Participating in an online class can seem difficult at first. Most classwork is reading, listening, or watching lectures without any way of participating. However, e-mails can be sent to the professor asking questions, commenting etc. Aside from e-mails, many classes will have discussion forums for students to post ideas and respond to each other. Being an active member of these forums will help a great deal in showing the professor you care and want to participate. Another option will be chats, some professors will offer live chats where students can log on and ask questions and receive immediate feedback. Logging in to these chats and asking questions is another good way to show the teacher you are participating.

Ask questions

Without the ability to raise a hand, it is nearly impossible for a teacher to know you have a question. While asking too many simple questions that a student can easily answer themselves can become weary for a teacher, legitimate questions about the course or clarification of the material is usually welcomed and helps the teacher remember who you are.

Turn in assignments on time

This may seem obvious, but is quite important. When turning in assignments online, the teacher will receive every assignment time stamped down to the second, making a late assignment impossible to hide and will be easily spotted by the instructor. While many professors may understand the various reasons a student may have for turning in an assignment late, it is never a good idea to have the professor remember you as the person who turns in assignments late.

Put a face with a name

The anonymity involved with the internet is a difficult obstacle to overcome sometimes. One of the easiest ways to fix this is to post a picture of yourself online. Many schools have student profiles where students can upload a personal photo that teachers have access to. Find out if your school offers this and be sure to fill it out completely.

 

E-mail Signatures

Many e-mail services allow users to create “signatures” to be placed at the end of their e-mails. These often contain contact information like phone numbers, e-mail, and websites. Make a special school signature for yourself, so that when you e-mail your instructor they have all of your contact information in a convenient place.

Don’t assume people get it

E-mail is a fairly unforgiving communication medium. It often comes across as a casual way of talking with someone, and far too often people attempt sarcasm or other kinds of humor online. This is never a good idea, since these comments can often be taken out of context. There are icons called emoticons that can help this, often displaying the intended emotion. Just remember that using too many emoticons may come off as too unprofessional to your teacher. What is also important is too avoid “text speak,” a new set of abbreviations used to make written communication faster, especially while texting with cell phones. Never assume your instructor or classmates understand the abbreviations, all communication in an online class needs to be understood by anyone who reads it.

Never be a “Flamer”

The fastest way to get noticed in a negative way is to be what is referred to as a “Flamer.” The internet provides a layer of anonymity, and that often leads to people to leave comments and respond in a potentially offensive manner. It’s important to remember that any e-mail, forum post, and instant messages will be treated as if said out loud in a classroom. It may be easier to be insulting online, but if you want to do well in an online classroom you should avoid it.

Following these steps will help you stand out in an online classroom and perform better in an online school.

Michael Moss
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