Communicating online at university is another way to learn collaboratively, however the online environment can lack audio or visual cues on how other participants are responding. To successfully participate and communicate online requires you to observe professional courtesy and respect in your online interactions to ensure the learning environment is safe and welcoming.


  • Help each other out – ask questions and respond to others.
  • Communicating online takes practice, start small and practice your skills.
  • Be as clear as possible when you are writing to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Be open to the views of others.
  • Be sensitive to diversity and cultural differences
  • Be respectful when having a different opinion.

Online webinars/live classrooms (eg Zoom, Adobe Connect, Teams)

  • Do a pre-check of your camera and microphone, as well as the software, before the session begins. This is essential if you are presenting.
  • Check the chat - if you are presenting and there is a big group, try and find someone to monitor it while you present.
  • Audio:
    • Use headphones
    • Try and find a quiet space
    • If you have microphone rights, mute your microphone when not speaking.
  • If you have video on:
    • What is in the background?
    • Are you dressed appropriately?
    • If you are at home, warn your housemates that you are online with video.
  • If there are bandwidth issues:
    • Resize images to a smaller file size before adding to a presentation
    • Turn off participant cameras
    • Turn off the presenter’s camera.

Discussion forums

  • Use a meaningful name in the post heading
  • Avoid plagiarism: use academic writing style, and cite your sources
  • Stay on topic, or start a new thread for a new idea
  • Read all the contributions before replying – your point may already have been made.
  • Discuss ideas not personalities
  • Avoid SHOUTING (using all capitals)
  • Either subscribe to the forum or check back often to read new comments.
Page last updated on 23/03/2020

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