5 Questions to Ask Your Professor in an Online Class

If you are registered for an online course this semester, you may still be acclimating to a learning experience that is much different from a traditional, in-person class. Perhaps the largest difference is that you likely have not met your professor in person, and the vast majority of your interaction throughout the semester will be solely online. Just because you are not meeting with your professor face-to-face on a frequent basis, however, does not mean that you cannot ask him or her questions. Here are five important questions that every student in an online course should ask his or her professor:
  1. Why did you choose this specialty?
If you have not yet done so, you may wish to contact your professor to introduce yourself and to tell him or her why you are interested in this class. It is equally important to ask your professor how he or she became interested in the field. This may provide you with more insight into what will be emphasized in the course, and it can help you make a great impression on your professor.
  1. What are your expectations in this class?
It is also wise to ask your professor about his or her expectations during the course. You can ask how often you will receive assignments and take tests—this may also be outlined in the syllabus. You can likewise inquire about how often your professor expects you to communicate with him or her, as well as anything else that you may need to know to succeed in the class.
  1. How can I prepare for success?
It is important to show your interest in success, as well as your commitment to working hard. Ask your professor about the typical characteristics of successful students in his or her course, and then try to emulate these characteristics.
  1. Is additional help available?
At same point during the semester, you may find yourself struggling with the material. It is always smart to ask early on in the course what types of assistance are available, and to ensure that they will be sufficient for you. If the professor is not offering extra help, ask what additional resources he or she can recommend for success in the class.
  1. What can I do to improve?
Once the course is underway and you have turned in your initial assignments, it is a great idea to ask your professor what you can do to improve. If you are writing papers, for example, you can ask for suggestions about how to better develop your revision or research skills. Ask this question early so you can begin improving, but also continue to ask it throughout the class to build on your progress throughout the semester.
As with any other course, the key is to form a strong relationship with your professor. It is important to demonstrate to your instructor that you are committed to the course, interested in the subject, and willing to work hard in order to do well.
Catherine Martin is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.