Communicating Online: Perspectives from the Online Classroom

header_keyboardGuest Post by Nichole Ahlstrom

Communication what’s that? In today’s society people seem to communicate without a voice so it seems. Real communication is vocal words between two people or being able to express conversation through body language. Today everyone seems to be texting instead of talking.

In relation to attending college, in-person communication is not always the best choice for a student. Hence, the growth of online colleges.

I have to be honest, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to attend college unless online was available. My husband is active duty and we move on average every three years. A traditional college wasn’t the right choice for me.

Enrolling as an online student was the best educational decision I have made. In effort to demonstrate the importance of online college and how I believe it can change a person’s life for the better, I became an online college instructor.

Communication in college is quite different form communicating in person. A student must learn and demonstrate netiquette by identifying formal and informal communication in the classroom. The idea behind communication in the online classroom is not only to demonstrate what knowledge has been learned, but also to interact and learn from others.

In the online learning environment communication is imperative, even if the communication is just typing. Technology is enabling communication in online classrooms via chat rooms, websites, emails, social networks, and video-conferences to name some examples.

Communicating online has its challenges. For example, misread text/documents can pose misrepresentation of information or meanings of the context. Not being able to get an immediate response can be challenging as well.

All these tools require that students communicate with clarity, comprehensiveness, conversational tone, attention to detail, accuracy, manners, and confidence.  The more conversational a student is, the more successful his/her learning experience will be in the classroom.

Although the online classroom may seem like there is little communication, the truth is the online classroom focuses on communication and a student is not able to be successful without interacting. Education is like a career; one has to take part in what’s needed to do the job. For the online student that means proofreading, re-reading for errors, demonstrating appropriate writing skills, and communicating in a proficient tone. Many careers require the same.

About the Author

Nichole Ahlstrom is an adjunct faculty member who teaches Psychology at American Public University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. She is currently working on her Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership degree with the University of Phoenix. Nichole lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband, who is an active-duty Marine, and they have two children. Nichole loves being a mother, spending time with her family, volunteering, exercising and traveling.