The best thing to do when you’re lost is to pull over and ask for directions, so why not have the same mindset in your online classroom. Learning how to ask detailed questions in the online environment is one of the most important skills you’ll need to be successful in your courses. Since students are not face to face with instructors as they are in traditional classrooms, communication skills through email and discussion boards is very critical.
- On the first day of your Eli class, take note of your instructors email address. Make sure to add it to your contacts in your VCCS-email account (note: instructors only communicate with your VCCS-email account). This is especially important for when your computer has technical issues and you need to contact your instructor but cannot login to the classroom. Also, by adding the instructors email address it will prevent their responses from going into your Spam/Junk folder.
- Discussion Board forums are another way to contact your instructor. Some instructors may setup a Discussion Board just for questions about the class, which they check regularly. This is a great place to ask questions about assignments, clarifying the late policy, and the assigned reading. Everyone benefits from the discussion board, even the instructor. Essentially, if you have a question about the material chances are someone else does too. It also allows the instructor to evaluate the class comprehension in regards to the curriculum.
- Formulating emails to instructors should be informative. It’s not helpful for an instructor to receive an email that says “I don’t understand the week one assignment”. It’s better to write, “I need some clarification about the week one assignment. I’ve downloaded the template that contains the exercises for week one but I’m having trouble answering question two and three. I did the reading and took notes but I’m still not grasping the concepts in regards to the Freudian theory. Any help you can give, I’d appreciate”. Essentially if you give the instructor more detailed information they are able to offer you feedback quickly and tailor it to your specific question.
Don’t forget to include your course's name and section number in the subject line of your email. This aids your instructor to confirm which course you are enrolled in. Often times, instructors teach more than one course.For assistance with academic resources or study strategies to include free online tutoring for ELI Students, please contact your ELI Success Coach at ELISuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.