Let’s pretend you are enrolled in an online class and you have to write a comment or response on your class’s online site. You want to sound smart. You want to prove that you have read the material. You want to impress your instructor. You want to write something that will further a conversation, and not shut it down. You don’t want to take all day to compose your crafty, witty, and urbane comment. Here are a few tips that will help you do exactly that.
1. Really read the article/material/post/handout you have been assigned. Scanning the title and all the bold words in the article may be a great place to start, but it will take you twice as long to NOT read it and write a suitable comment as it will to actually read the darn thing in the first place. Know what you are talking about so you don’t sound like a
dweeb, an uninformed student when you go to write that response.
2. Figure out what you have to do by reading the directions for your prompt. Are you supposed to summarize what you read? Are you to read everyone else’s comments and respond to them? Are you supposed to answer a question? Do you get to do a bit of both? Don’t waste time doing the wrong thing. You have other homework to do, places to go, people to see…
3. Compose your answer off-line so you can spell-check and idiot-proof your work. Nothing is more embarrassing than
posing poseing posting something you can’t delete. Also, if it’s offline, in case there’s a web snafu, your work may be salvaged. Yes, I know, many of you are working on your phone with that itty bitty screen, but open up a notes app and save yourself some potential embarrassment.
4. Read through the other comments. Chances are, if you are late to the conversation, someone has said what you are already planning to say. That’s okay, but you want to make sure you have your own spin–there isn’t much credit in the online world with comments like, “Yeah, me too.” Boring. Who cares?!
5. Ask a question. Not a silly one, like, what are we supposed to do here? Or, what was the reading all about? Instead, consider asking a question that furthers more conversation. Try not to answer it yourself and it will be more interesting if you really don’t know the answer.
6. Give props. People just about always like to be recognized, so give them credit for their work and add your own thoughts to the mix. Make sure to name them or the originator of the post/question. “Like Mary Jane, I noticed that…”
7. Don’t suck up. Please don’t embarrass yourself by sucking up to the professor/instructor/blogger. They should already know how great they are, and don’t need your insincerity. Use your time wisely by actually doing the work rather than trying to get away with some extra brownie points. In the classroom, sucking up can be easily dismissed. Online, forever written until the blog/class/site goes dark, is tough legacy to live with. If you really like what is happening online consider a less public forum like an email.
Well, what suggestion will help you the most? Leave us your spin by clicking on the little comment dohicky deal at the top.
Because we are an educational-type website, all comments must be approved, so be sure to mind your theatre etiquette.