Get to Know Your Professor

So, you have just started your online class. Maybe it’s your first one. Maybe you’ve taken several before. Either way, I can’t stress enough that one of the best things you can do for yourself as an online student is get to know your professor right away. He/She is going to be your main connection to the course, and you want to make sure that you stand out. This post offers two ways to reach out to your professor.  I recommend doing both, if possible – now!


Introduce yourself publicly on Sakai. Ideally, your professor will have an “Introduce Yourself” forum topic located in the “Forums” section of Sakai. There, you can tell fellow students and your professor a little bit about yourself (e.g. where you are from, why you are taking the class, etc.). Doing so allows you to present yourself as a member of the class and to begin to make connections to both your professor and your peers. If your professor doesn’t have this forum, then skip to my next suggestion.

Message your professor privately. This one-on-one contact shows that you are an interested, motivated student, and it helps the professor to not only remember you, but also get to know you a little better. You can do this either through the Messages tool on Sakai or simply through email. When you craft your message, I suggest not only introducing yourself to the professor but also asking a question you may have about the course, the syllabus, or an assignment. On Sakai, you click the Messages tab and create a new message. Make sure to send your message to the “Instructor Role” so that only your professor receives the message. If your professor doesn’t use Messages, then just shoot him/her an email. Remember to address your professor correctly (Dr. Online, for example) and proofread your message. A well written message says something positive about you as a student. Typos, on the other hand, say something less positive…


Not sure how to begin your post or message? Here are a couple of examples to help get you started:

Example Introduction Forum Post for Introduction to Psychology class
“Hello everyone! My name is Justine Egan. I am from a small town in Connecticut and I like to run 5ks in my spare time. I am also a Psychology major who wants to understand human behavior. I am excited to take this class and learn more about the field.”


Example Introduction to Your Professor
“Hello Dr. Online,
My name is Justine Egan. I wanted to introduce myself and ask a question about the course. I was reading through the syllabus and found myself wondering exactly you will be looking for with regard to the discussion posts. I am looking forward to the class. Thank you very much for your time.

Justine Egan
PSY 113 Student”

Questions? Contact me!

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