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Module B ButtonTopic B2.4: Orienting Students to Online Technologies

Communications Technologies
Online students will need to communicate with their instructors and perhaps with other students, so here are the basics they will need to know:

  • The course Uniform Resource Locator (URL), the student ID, the student password, and/or other information on how to access the course.
  • If a course-specific email account will be used, or if the student may use a personal email account? If the email is course-specific, how does the student access it?
  • Within many courses, chat rooms and a bulletin board are used. The orientation materials should include how to find the locations of the chat room and bulletin board, how to access and use, and rules to follow (net-etiquette). For example, some instructors ask students to say "Hello" upon entering a chat room and "Goodbye" before exiting.
  • The instructor can explain how students should ask questions most effectively. Will questions be asked through the bulletin board or in the chat session so that all students can see the question and the answer, or should the questions be asked through email?
  • After students have posted a question or sent a question by email, how soon should they expect a reply? Usually, the frequency of response to student’s email is announced in the course syllabus, which is linked from the course home page. Most instructors inform their students they can expect to receive a reply within 24 or 32 hours, except on weekends. Or, instructors might state that discussion board postings will be answered every morning before noon, Monday through Friday But that information should be given clearly and prominently on the course information page.


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