Ever since there have been schoolrooms, educational experts have been studying the interaction among students as a way of understanding the development of social skills. While it might seem that an online class would prevent that kind of research, it is actually the opposite. A student who might be shy in a crowd will suddenly find their voice within the anonymity of online learning. The following are a list of tips to help improve your online class experience.

Think Before You Post

No one is asking you to be an award-winning novelist when you post in your online classroom message boards. However, this is where you’ll be examined by your instructor and fellow students to determine if you understand the course material. Given that, you should strive to write in complete sentences. Turn your spell check on and don’t write all in CAPS. That implies you are yelling. Try to avoid writing overly long posts. Make your point concisely. And always reread your post before you hit “enter.”

Consider Your Tone

As you enter into the realm of online learning, you have the chance to meet students from literally all over the world. As such, you’ll be exposed to many different cultures and idioms as part of your online discussions. Try to get a “temperature” of the room before diving in. Some discussions might be less formal than others. It might be more conversational as opposed to the tone you might take when writing up a paper or assignment. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you are consistent with your responses.

Participating in an online discussion also doesn’t mean you have to write like a robot. You can certainly interject your own personality when appropriate. The goal is to stay on topic and not deviate with personal discussions. If you want to have a forum to get more personal, then you’ll have the opportunity to set up a kind of “sidebar” forum for those chats. You’ll also want to let your fellow classmates know that you’ve read their posts and appreciate their input. This is the fastest way to make friends in an online community! This doesn’t mean you have to agree with all the posts, but acknowledging them is the best way to start a discussion thread.

Act Like You’re In A Typical Classroom

Even though you’re online, you’re still in a classroom so you should act accordingly.  You don’t have to be formal or overly eager to fit in. Express yourself as you would in a normal discussion on whatever topic is at hand. Keep an open mind. You’re there to learn just as you would on a college campus. You’ll be exposed to different viewpoints. What can you take from those? This is what any kind of learning experience is all about.