How to Get Your Professor’s Attention in a Large Online Class

Taking online courses is a great way to manage your work and home lives while getting that step up in the world to take you even higher. But one of the downsides of online courses is the tendency to get lost in the roster, as there's no face-to-face contact. Your professor will usually record lectures of him or herself and post it online, giving you access but not the other way around. So how, then, do you make your presence known over everyone else?

1. Say Hi Right Away

It may sound nerdy or corny, but sending an introductory email to your professor at the start of the course is one of the easiest ways of having your name known. Just send a quick note that says hi, who you are, why you're looking forward to the course, and a general question, such as one about the syllabus. This last point is important because it sets up a way for the professor to actually get back to you, as opposed to sending a "hi" email that can simply get deleted.

2. Post Often in the Forums

The ones who are remembered in a large online class are the ones who are heard, not the ones who silently read other students' comments. If you want to make yourself stand out, making interacting with your co-students a priority. You'll quickly become known as someone who's really delving into the class and becoming involved, and your professor will notice that. They take time to read the forums to get a sense of how they're setting up their own class and what to change for future ones, and if they see you consistently posting thoughtful comments, they'll remember your name.

3. Do the Readings

This point goes hand-in-hand with the previous one, as you want to make sure what you're posting actually has intellectual basis. By no means does this translate to you having to post comments that question the very basis of life, but they should be things that can't be found in a two-second Google search. For example, if you keep posting comments about when an assignment or quiz is, the reputation you'll get is as someone who can't be bothered to read over the syllabus. But post questions and comments that politely challenge others and aren't always found in the text, and you'll be seen as a student who's taking the material seriously and really wants to learn.

4. Remember that Your Professor is a Person, Too

You may be tempted to email your professor all the time, asking questions you think are important enough to get you noticed.


Think about your own life for a second. Would you want someone pestering you every single minute of the day, asking you questions about everything? Or would you prefer that they stick to the availability you gave out, and let you have your own life, too? Your professor is the same way and respecting those boundaries will get you much further ahead than constant pestering. Take careful note of posted office hours and use them, and only break that rule if it's something absolutely urgent (i.e. medical emergency that prevents you from handing something in or writing a quiz on a certain date).

It's not overly difficult to make your presence known to your professor in a large online class, it just takes a bit of skill and persistence. But work at it with the right approach, and you'll soon be a master of networking in your online courses.