Making a Good Impression in your Online Class

So you may have just started your online class or may be in the middle of it.  Whether it is Day 1 or Day 10, you want to make sure you leave a good impression on students and your professor.  In a completely online course, typically people cannot see your face, unless the course uses student videos or pictures to connect.  Therefore, you only have your words that demonstrate to others how you present yourself as an individual.  US News & World Report Education discusses “4 Ways to Make a Good Impression in Online Classes” which include the following:

Keep an eye on spelling and grammar.

As I said before, how you present yourself as an individual comes across in your words in an online course. Try to avoid using bullet points and text jargon. Also, proofread, proofread, proofread! Rather than typing your response directly into the classroom management system (e.g. Sakai), use a word processing program (e.g. Microsoft Word). This will allow you to look over your response and check for spelling and grammar issues.

Make sure comments are related to the topic.

When doing your initial writing, it can be easy to sometimes go off into ten different tangents rather than just making your point. Like in a conversation, if your story is too long, people will likely lose interest. Try to stick to the topic at hand and answer the response or question in a succinct and clear fashion. This is where proofreading can become especially important.

Watch your tone.

When you are speaking to someone in person, you can self-monitor the tone in which you are speaking to them. Therefore, if you are mad or happy, that can be shown verbally and non-verbally. However, once you write something, the tone for that particular response is set. Therefore, re-read your responses to determine the type of tone you are writing from and whether you need to revise to come across as more civil/considerate. Watching your tone is just as important when e-mailing your professor.

Share but do not over share.

While a discussion board can be helpful to connect with students generally as well as on course related topics, remember the context. You definitely want to form connections with your peers and professor, but discussing a recent breakup, for example, may come across as way too personal. Keeping communication kind while remaining professional is key.

If you are reading this and are at a loss about where to start, refer to my previous post on how to write a thoughtful discussion post. That will provide you with a guideline of how to write a quality discussion post for your online course.


Haynie, D. (July 8, 2013). 4 ways to make a good impression in an online class. US News & World Report: Education. Retrieved from:


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