Learning conducted entirely online means that both students and lecturers have to make many adjustments, including learning how to navigate virtual classrooms. Communicating via online platforms may be a bit different than face-to-face settings. Thus, we’ve listed down these suggestions for good online etiquette.
Before the class
Learn how to use online learning applications.
It would be good if you learn how to use the applications your lecturers have indicated will be used for online learning.
For our purposes, online classes will be conducted via Zoom while we will be using Google Classroom for assignments and additional discussions. You can read up on how to use Zoom and the basics of Google Classroom.
Check your email regularly.
Your email is NOT a storage area for your files. Check them religiously. Your lecturers and the program staff will be sending you regular updates about classes via email.
Attempt to find your answers first.
Most of the communications you will receive will contain instructions and other things you need to know for class. Make sure you read these instructions and letters first. If you don’t know how to do some of the things being asked of you (e.g., attaching a document to a Google Form), you may want to search the Internet first on how to do it. This is part of basic research.
In many cases, your classmates may already have answers to your questions. You may also try asking them. If you really can’t find answers, then feel free to drop your lecturer or the program staff a line or two. 😀
Choose your location carefully.
Location is very important when you’re joining classes online. Make sure you’re in a quiet place with very minimal or no distractions that has good lighting and ventilation. You can also use different screen backgrounds on Zoom. You don’t really want the whole class to see the things in your closet, do you? 😀
Also, make sure you’re not disturbing anyone else in your location while you’re attending class.
While we understand how liberating it is to not have to dress up daily, we do need you to be at least presentable when you join the online classes. We’re quite sure you don’t want display those pair of neon yellow sweatpants you love so much.
Be punctual, be early.
Everyone’s time is important. Make sure you respect everyone’s time by being punctual. In fact, joining the class five to ten minutes early is better, since you will have time to do a video and audio check.
While in class
Muting your microphone.
When joining classes and while these classes are ongoing, make sure your microphone is muted unless you’re going to speak. You may use the “raise your hand” option of Zoom if you want to ask questions or raise some points and wait for the host to acknowledge you before unmuting your mic and speaking. Don’t forget to mute yourself when you’re done.
Don’t be shy, turn on your videos.
As much as possible, keep your video on. Only turn your video off when it’s an emergency or when your internet connection is bad.
Avoid distractions, pay attention.
When you’re attending class, do try to avoid unnecessary distractions. Don’t schedule your other meetings (or watch a movie or check you social media) while class is ongoing. Those cute puppy dog photos will still be on Instagram after class.
Spell things out.
While many of us are tempted to use shrtnd vrsns of msgs, sometimes other people won’t understand them. This may be ok if you’re messaging your friends, but for class settings, make sure you spell things out.
Avoid sarcasm or other things that may be misinterpreted.
Let’s admit it, many of us use sarcasm as a way to make fun of things. However, many people won’t be able to catch on with sarcasm or other ways of speaking or writing. Many times, especially in online setting, these get easily misinterpreted.
When you are asking questions or making comments, be brief and to the point. Online classes are necessarily short to prevent internet fatigue; we want to save time by making our points as succinct as possible.
In many cases, clicking the “thumbs up” button is enough to convey your approval of a point being discussed in class.
Chatboxes are not your private messaging apps.
While a “hi” to everyone is ok, don’t flood the chatbox with unnecessary comments; this may cause others to miss the important comments being made by your lecturers or other classmates. It can also be distracting for the class facilitators. Use “raise your hand” and speak for everyone to hear instead of chatting in the chat box, of course, unless your class facilitators invite you to.
There you have it! We guarantee that taking these suggestions into consideration will make your online classroom and learning experience that much more rewarding! And don’t forget, have fun while learning!