Establishing a good relationship with your online university professor takes more than just registering for the class. While there is a contractual obligation for him or her to present the course information in an effort to teach you, you are more likely to have a smooth relationship if you take the responsibility upon yourself to not only get acquainted, but to observe some respectful manners in your interactions with him or her.

Start off by learning how your professor likes to be addressed. It’s not offensive to ask them. Most likely they will like to be addressed in a way that establishes their credibility as a teacher. If you don’t know what to call them, Professor Soandso works. If you know they have put in the time to receive a doctoral degree of one sort or another it will not be offensive to begin addressing them as Doctor Soandso. If they prefer you call them something else they will correct you. Respecting their position as your professor is a great way to start of the relationship.

Being diplomatic is a skill that extends far beyond the classroom and can help you establish a good communication pattern with your professor. One key here is to never assume. Things aren’t always what they seem and we often miss important bits of information, so instead of assuming that your teacher didn’t provide you with an important document or piece of needed information, approach them from a place where you give them the benefit of the doubt like, “Doctor Soandso, I probably just missed it, but could you tell me how the multiples of three factor into this equation again?” A teacher has a lot on their plate. They may have legitimately missed something, but assuming they did may put them a bit on the defensive.

Some conversations need to be kept private. Asking the teacher why she gave you a C in a classroom setting is not appropriate. A grade is between you and the teacher, it doesn’t concern the other students and should be something that you take up with him or her later in email or at a private session during their office hours.

While communicating often with your professor is a good thing, there are some times that you want to make sure not to skip an interaction with them. By letting them know where you are at at any given time you let them know how they can accommodate, if appropriate, to help you out. One of the most frustrating things for a teacher is to have a student that doesn’t communicate to them just what’s going on in their lives that can help explain late work, lower scores on tests and subpar work. Your teacher really is there to help you out. While your struggling relationship shouldn’t be an excuse for you to not try, often an instructor is going to be able to show some understanding and perhaps even suggest some solutions that could help you successfully engage more effectively in the class.

If you are going on a trip and won’t be able to get to assignments or a scheduled lecture is one time that you should be talking to your teacher. By letting them know as soon as you can, you can plan with them how to work around the absence.

Make sure to talk to them if you are struggling with the work. It’s no fun to get behind and even less fun to get behind and feel overwhelmed about it. Reach out to your instructor.

There are other times that would be good to contact your instructor. All in all, f you have a question, ask. It’s better to over communicate than under communicate. Remember, the relationship you have with your online university professor is an important thing to effectiveness in the classroom. Good luck!

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