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Success Strategies for Online Communication

Communicating in Hybrid/
Online Part of your Course:

Student Advice

left quoteRead all of your classmates’ message postings whenever there is a forum for any assignment -- this way, you will definitely get helpful ideas as well as useful responses from your peers.”

Online discussions are an integral part of most hybrid courses; they are the essence of the online-hybrid half of the class. When you write in online discussions, it is like you are ‘talking’ in a regular classroom. In turn, when you read what your classmates write in online discussions, it is like you are ‘listening’ to them talk in a regular classroom.

Writing = Talking
Reading = Listening

Here are some proven success strategies for online discussion forums.

Write (Talk)

Write (Talk)In the online discussion forum, you are your writing; your presence is indicated by the writing you do on the assignments. In fact, if you do not complete the online writing work for that week, there is no record that you did anything if you do not write.

Self Awareness

Student Advice

left quoteDiscussion boards allowed people to critique and evaluate each other’s work without having to look them in the eye. Most people find it difficult to criticize someone who they barely know and they don't want to offend them. Being online can offer the opportunity for a refreshing honest opinion that you normally wouldn't receive. This allowed people to build relationships.”

Consider how you are portraying yourself in writing to the class and your instructor.

  • Be respectful and positive, yet honest.
  • Use clear sentence structure and grammar.
  • Do not use ‘texting’ shortcuts; this is a college class, a different genre of writing.
  • Your writing in forums need not be ‘perfectly correct’ at all times, but it should be understandable without a reader needing to ‘interpret’ what you are trying to say.

Read (Listen)

Read your classmates earlier postings first to find out how they are addressing the assignment, to find out if your ideas are on track, and to find out what others have said. It's not cheating to learn from others’ insights. It's collaboration!

Respond on Time

Student Advice

left quoteThings do pile up fast!"

Many online discussions will have two (or more) due dates:

  1. One for your first, original post and
  2. another for your reading and responding to your classmates’ posts.

Personal Address

It's typically a good idea to address the person you're responding to by name, just as if you were speaking to them face-to-face. It's also a good idea to sign your posting. This will make your online discussion more personal and immediate.

Save Your Work

SAveBefore you post to an online discussion, it's always safer to compose first using your word processor, and save it as a separate file to your computer. You can lose all your work if you type directly into the forum; you may accidentally delete it, or it may not save if Blackboard suddenly goes down!

Document Your Writing

Identify your sources if you use quotes, references, or resources. Your work MUST be your own distinct writing, unless you have indicated otherwise.

Use Correct Formatting

Blackboard Forums allow you to retain formatting of the original (italics, bullets, bold, etc.). If you list book, film, journal, etc. titles, they should be in italics.

Some material adapted from:

Drexel University - Scott Warnock

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Alan Aycock