When beginning online education, one of the things that can be tough to recognize initially is online classroom interaction is much different from in person classroom interaction. Message boards are the key feature for online interaction and while they give you an opportunity to create detailed, thought out posts, they are missing other features available in traditional brick and mortar schools. Depending on your personality and communication style, this can be difficult to reconcile initially.
Regardless, here are some things to keep in mind on the differences.
1.) Sarcasm usually confuses online. Depending on your delivery, sarcasm can confuse in person as well. Yet, when posting something online, the last thing you want to do is leave your teacher and fellow students confused on your seriousness. Avoid sarcasm.
2.) Quick wit does not translates online. While posting on a message board, a fellow student may post something and then not return to the message board for days. Posting a quick response loses its luster when no one is seeing your thoughts in real-time.
3.) Responses can take days. In a physical classroom, teachers and fellow students must respond to you quickly, but in an online environment, you can wait for days for a response. If you are posting something with a lot of detail, then you can expect some students to take longer to process it and respond. Do not get discouraged by this.
4.) Some responses may never come. Given the nature of some assignments, a message board post or response to another student may warrant no response. In a physical classroom, a student will have immediate feedback to your response to their statement, even if it is just a nod. However, your response to a student’s post may receive no feedback. This is often because the other students have completed their minimum posts for the week or perhaps your post did not need a response. Regardless, do not be discouraged.
5.) The class clown gets little attention online. Given that sarcasm and quick wit are wasted in an online environment, and every other student is working to move the discussion further for credit, the student constantly making jokes does not get the rouse of laughter he or she would receive in a physical classroom.
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor