To be highly successful in online classes, develop the habit of quickly letting your teacher know that you are confused and need clarification. In a classroom based course, your teacher has several ways to tell how well you are understanding the material. One of the most obvious ways is to scan the room, looking to see whether you or your classmates look confused. If the student looks confused, the teacher can try explaining the concept again in a different way, or give more examples until things seem clearer. In an online class, this quick visual check for understanding isn't available to your teacher. Because of this, students in an online class have to be more deliberate and active in communicating confusion to their instructors.
In the online environment, emailing your teacher and posting responses on a discussion board are much more important than they would be if you were taking the class on a campus, because that is the quickest way for your teacher to tell how well you grasp the concepts you are learning. If you send an email to your teacher, or make a post on the forums, and your teacher doesn’t respond within a couple days, it is perfectly acceptable to send them an email asking if they saw it. Make it a point to communicate actively and frequently in both discussion boards and by email!
For additional references, check out, What It Takes To Be A Successful Student, an ELI online workshop offered through Studentlingo. If you have further questions about communicating with your instructor, you are encouraged to contact your ELI Student Success Coach or call 703.764.5076. We are here to help you achieve your academic goals!