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Module B ButtonTopic B3.1: Communicating Online

Part A: Static Component of the Online Course: Rules To Establish
These communication components are static because they do not change throughout the course and can be carried over from one semester to another. Online instructors must communicate clear expectations of the students. These course rules serve several purposes: to organize class participation, to provide time frames for communication, and to establish norms or standards of appropriateness.

Examples of Static Communication Rules:

What I (instructor) expect of you:

1. General Communication

  •  To use only Standard English in all forms of communication in our online class.


2. Discussion Boards

  • To contribute a response to all discussion topics posted by your instructor.
  • To post at least three responses to other students’ postings.
  • All postings to be in paragraph format; (one-sentence postings, such as “I agree” are unacceptable.)


3. E-mails
To address the e-mail in a specific way so that it is easy for the instructor to identify both the course and the purpose of the email. The following example illustrates how the subject line can be used to convey information:

Please use the following guidelines when sending e-mail to me. In the subject area, enter COURSE NUMBER and clearly identify the topic of your e-mail:

   A. ENG 101: Question about __________________
   B. ENG 101: Comment about _________________
   C. ENG 101: Homework Assignment ____________

To follow appropriate format (a model may be included for an example), which should:

  • Start with a salutation
  • State and explain purpose
  • End with a closing and sign with student’s full name
  • Include student’s course and index.


4. Assignments

  • Only assignments that are sent through the Digital Drop Box are accepted, or,
  • Assignments can be sent either as attachments to e-mails, or through the Digital Drop Box.
  • Late assignments are (not) accepted (explanation).


5. Virtual Classroom

  • Participation in the class virtual chats is (is not) mandatory.
  • If students cannot participate in the chat, offer credit if they review the chat archive and post a substantive response.


What you (students) can expect of me; see examples below:

1. Discussion Boards

  • Every week (or after completion of every module), I will post a few topics in the Discussion Board to which I invite your responses.
  • I will respond to all (or some, specify) postings within three (working) days.


2. E-mails

  • I will respond to your e-mail within 48 hours (24 hours, 36 hours).
  • I do (do not) check my e-mails on a weekend.


3. Assignments

  • I will send you an e-mail letting you know that I received your assignments;
  • I will return your assignments within five days.


4. Office Hours

  • Every Thursday between 4:00 and 6:00 P.M. I will be in the virtual chat room for office hours.
  • Every Tuesday between 2:00 and 4:00, I will in my office and available to answer phone calls.


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