Establishing a Professional Relationship with Your Online Teacher

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Posted on February 6th, 2011

One of the most important relationships made throughout your college experience is the professional relationship you develop with your instructors. The importance of a student/professor relationship, however, is often overlooked by collegiate students. This professional relationship enriches both your academic experience and your future professional career, preparing you for the professional relationships you will enter in the working world.

As an online student, establishing a strong, insightful, and professional relationship with your instructors may seem difficult. Online students are unable to interact with professors in person, communicating only electronically. This electronic communication can feel distant and detached. Although the means by which you communicate is more restricted, online professors are no less available to their students than in classroom professor are.

In order to establish a healthy professional relationship with your instructor you have to be willing to extend communication beyond the allotted time of your online course. To start, if the class subject genuinely intrigues you begin reading about the subject before the class begins. This way you can develop a few legitimate questions about the material and approach your professor via email before lectures have begun. In doing so, students are able to introduce themselves to their instructors and demonstrate genuine effort and interest in the course.

However, before sending off an email be sure to understand and use professional email etiquette. When you represent yourself in a written medium such as email (as so many online students do), the reader can only evaluate you based on your writing. Make certain to use semi-formal greetings, such as “Hello” and “Dr.”, rather than “hey!” or “hi!”. Also, be sure to formally conclude you emails, thanking them for their time. Remember that you are not conversing with a friend or family member; this is your instructor. You should converse with your instructor through email the way you would talk with them in person. Above all, be professional.

Establishing a professional relationship with your online professors can be difficult. You must be willing to put in the extra time and effort to build and foster that relationship. Maintaining true interest, performing well in class, and communicating regularly are the first steps to creating a professional relationship with your online professors. Learning to establish this relationship effectively will guide you to becoming more successful in the working world.

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