Speaking in a virtual classroom while pursuing an online degree is much different than a casual online forum.

Now that you have decided to pursue your degree through a distance learning program, it is imperative that you know the difference.

Your virtual classroom classmates and instructors cannot see your facial expression, or your body language. Your words must speak for all of your thought.

virtual classroomYour virtual classroom is just that: a classroom.

If you wouldn’t speak in acronyms in a face to face conversation, don’t use internet shorthand in your virtual classroom discussions.

Likewise, if you wouldn’t yell at your classmates, don’t type in all caps in your virtual classroom.

Also, live by the golden rule. If you desire to be treated with respect and dignity, then that is how you should treat your classmates, instructors, and advisors.

Expect diversity, some of your virtual classroom classmates could be returning to school for the first time in thirty years, others will be fresh out of high school.

Last, but not least, follow the rules. Your institution will have a student hand book, with a section designated to their online campuses or virtual classroom, read it often.

TTYL, BRB, BTW using this shorthand is helpful in chat rooms and texting, but they have no place in a virtual classroom.

Your instructors expect to be communicating with college level learners; you need to write like it. Once you have built a report, and have begun emailing your virtual classroom classmates and instructors, using a bit of internet shorthand may be acceptable.

However, when you are discussing your assignments, working on projects, posting responses to classroom discussions, or writing term papers, it is vital that you write it out. Your words are your only means of communication in a virtual classroom.

IT HURTS THE EYES, as much as the ears. Yelling has no place in a physical classroom, just the same as caps have no place in a virtual classroom.

Remember, you are not speaking to strangers in a chat room; you are speaking to peers in a virtual classroom. If you must emphasis a word or phrase, there are some alternatives.

Italics, is a globally accepted form of written emphasis; [brackets] are understood to be an insertion of personal thought amidst a quote; “quotation marks” symbolize the use of someone else’s words; and ((double parenthesis)) show expression, such as ((smile)), ((chuckle)), ((lol)), yes that was shorthand, in the double parenthesis it is acceptable.

You are pursuing your degree through a distance learning program for a reason, so are your classmates. Your reasons may differ; however, the reasons are still there. Expect diversity in a virtual classroom and embrace… CONTINUE READING

Pat Wyman

Pat Wyman is the founder of HowToLearn.com and a best selling author.

She teaches at California State University, East Bay and is known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert. She helps children and adults solve learning problems with her Amazing Grades Study Skills System and is an expert in learning styles.

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