Communication in Online Courses

There are a variety of tools available for communication in the online environment. Within D2L, there are discussion topics, email, and chat rooms. KSU also offers Microsoft Teams and Collaborate Ultra as tools to facilitate synchronous online learning opportunities such as class meetings and online office hours. Of course, you can always email your instructor at their account. Some may even allow you to call. Check your Course Syllabus for ways to contact your instructor.

General Communications Guidelines

For online communication, we practice network etiquette or netiquette.

Netiquette or Network Etiquette is a series of rules designed to help individuals, in this case students, understand how they should communicate in the online environment. These online communications can be in the form of student-student or student-instructor interactions and are, typically, in email or discussion board formats. Below is a link and a video identifying how we approach Netiquette at KSU.


One common way to communicate with your peers and instructor in the online environment is through discussions. In D2L, discussions can be accessed by clicking on the Discussions link at the top of the course page. Discussions are arranged by Forums, Topics, Threads, and Posts. Please check with your instructor for details regarding post and response expectations.

  • Forum: A forum is a category of discussions that may contain one or more topic. You do not respond to forums in D2L.
  • Topic: A topic is a specific discussion to be addressed and where you would post and respond.
  • Post: This is your original response to the discussion prompt.
  • Thread: A series of posts surrounding one topic. You could also have a thread that stems from an original post to a topic.

Additional information regarding Discussions in D2L can be found in this How to Create a Discussion Thread