Effective Communication in Your Online Class

Communicating in an online course is typically different than in a face-to-face course. You must keep in mind your tone as you may not be able to make changes once you hit send. Here is a list of the 7 Cs of Effective Communication in an Online Course, based on an article by Melissa Veneable.


  • You want your messages to be clear so that fellow students and your professor can understand the point you are trying to make. Proofreading your material or even letting someone else read it prior to posting can also be useful as they may show you problem areas (i.e. areas that are difficult to understand) that you are not aware of.


  • You want to ensure you are answering any prompt or assignment completely. For instance, a prompt may have multiple parts you need to address. Even after writing your response, look back at the prompt to make sure you are addressing all of the necessary components.


  • I am sure many of you have heard the phrase, “short and sweet” to refer to the ideal length of time you should speak (e.g. in a presentation). Short and sweet is the key here. You want to communicate your point completely and effectively but remember less can be more. Most professors would prefer a shorter post that hits all of the key points than a long post that repeats the same points or goes on and on.


  • Emphasizing your main points are important. This may come by sharing images, tables, or charts. However, you could also accomplish this by making sure you have a structure that makes sense to the reader (i.e. clear thesis sentence and clear concluding sentence).


  • Respecting others when communicating in your online courses is vital. Therefore, as I stated earlier, re-read your post or even have someone else read it prior to sharing it with the class. This will allow you to assess that you are coming across as respectful and professional as possible.


  • Who are you communicating to? You should keep in mind the recipient of your post and/or message. If you are writing a post for your class, you want to ensure you are using complete sentences. If you are texting a friend, then the same sentence conventions may not apply.

Finally, as I said before, proofread! Proofreading and grammar/spell-checking can really improve your success when communicating in your online course.



Venable, M. (2011, Sept. 16). The 7 Cs of effective communication in your online course. Online College.org. Retrieved on 7/9/15. [article has been removed from site, as of 10/12/17]


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