The Essential Hub for Distance Learners

OMG! Online Do’s & Don’ts

by edgab



Email, discussion forums, and bulletin boards are common ways to communicate online with professors and other students.  There are important guidelines to follow when communicating with others.  While they may not admit to it, professors and students often consider the lingo, grammar, and style used in email and course discussions.  Consider the following Do’s and Don’ts of online communication to demonstrate your knowledge through your writing style.

The Do’s:

  • Use spell check and check grammar.  Compose posts in a word processing program, check for spelling/grammar errors and then copy and paste it into the online context.
  • Post open-ended questions, which often begin with “Why”, “How”, and “When”.
  • Make it personal.  Begin your email greeting with the person’s name and end it with a salutation, such as Sincerely, Thank you, Best, or Kindly followed by your name.
  • Use short, complete sentences when posting to discussions and bulletin boards.
  • Write clear and concise.
  • Use white space to make your posting readable.  Break up large paragraphs into shorter ones.
  • Review your post.  Review an email or post prior to sending it and fix any unclear thoughts.
  • Consider the writing style of your professors.  If they use emoticons then consider it appropriate to use them in moderation.
  • Watch sarcasm and humor.  When taken the wrong way, these remarks can create long-term, negative effects on relationships.
  • Remain on topic.  Discuss what’s relevant to the current topic in the discussion board or class.

The Don’ts:

  • Run-on sentences.  Check to ensure large sentences are broken into two or three when needed.
  • Type in ALL CAPS.  It illustrates screaming and never come across as if you’re yelling at your professor.
  • Use shortcuts.  Keep slang, such as “ur”, “u”, “ttyl”, and “tmi” for instant messaging and texting with friends.  Using this language can signify immaturity in the online education world.
  • Engage in emotional typing.  If you are angry, upset, worried, or anxious, step away from the computer!  Calm down before writing to ensure you communicate respectfully, clearly, and with maturity.

Professors and peers get to know you through your contributions to online emails, discussions, and assignments.  Following the dos and don’ts guidelines will help you make a good impression.

Hey! Any thoughts?