How to Build a Relationship with an Online Instructor

By Brenda on October 4th, 2011



Building rapport with your professor or college instructor can prove to be beneficial in terms of grades, college career and future employment.  So, how do you build a relationship with an online instructor?

It is normally not difficult to build relationship with a professor you see one to three times per week.  However, it can be hard to have a relationship with an instructor you don’t see.  Online instructors are usually only available via email.  You probably won’t see your instructor in the college bookstore and bump into him at the coffee shop.  Below are a few ways to build a friendship with your online instructor that may help you in the future.

Write Well

If your writing is sloppy and typos run rampant in your emails and online posts, you don’t present yourself well.  In fact, you present yourself the same way students do who show for class in their pajamas and uncombed hair.  Keep your communication with your instructor succinct, professional and appropriate.  Avoid bathroom humor and texting shortcuts like “LOL” or “ur.”  Remember, you are not a teenager texting your BFF.  You are communicating with a professional.

Remember, some students may be on the verge of a Pulitzer Prize, but you don’t have to be an excellent writer to communicate well with your online instructor.  Keep things light, avoid controversy and use spell-check.

Share Common Interests

If your instructor shares that he enjoys backpacking in the summer months or is an avid skier, and you share the same interest – tell him!  It is okay to share your common interests; in fact, you may even pick up a skiing partner if you live nearby.  Demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm for what is being discussed and watch the rapport build.

Ask for Advice

Now is not the time to hold back.  If your online instructor has accomplished some major goals that you have set for your life, inquire and ask advice on how he or she did it.  Share your career goals with your instructor and ask for advice on how to achieve them.  You professor will enjoy sharing their insight and experiential revelations on things they have encountered throughout their career.  If rapport is established, be sure to ask if it is okay to keep in touch with the instructor.  Once you graduate, you may never know when you may need some advice again or a reference on an upcoming job application.  Professors make great Facebook friends.

Be a Good Student

Let’s face it, if you are a good student who never misses a deadline or offers up excuses for turning in assignments on time, it will be easier to build rapport with your online instructor.  Be quick and careful to follow directions and always listen.  It pays to be a good student and make the job of your instructor easier.  They will appreciate your efforts and most likely be more responsive when you have a question or need advice.


Category: Online Degrees