How to Communicate with College Professors Who Teach Online Classes

Explore how you can navigate the tricky world of online classes and the professors who teach them.

Photo: Thinkstock

By Adam Jazairi

There’s no denying the convenience of online classes. Not only do you get the experience of learning from college professors, but you can also balance coursework with working a full-time job or raising a family.

Even if they don’t officially offer in-person office hours, some professors who teach online classes may be willing to schedule individual appointments

Nonetheless, distance education has its downsides. An online curriculum makes it difficult to get face time with your college professors, which can be discouraging for some students. But there are still plenty of ways to stay in touch with your professors that teach online classes.


Email is the most common method for students to contact their college professors, online or otherwise. It’s a great way to ask short, direct questions that don’t require too lengthy of a response.

The main disadvantage to emailing professors who teach online classes is the wait. While many college professors are prompt in their responses, some can take days or even weeks to respond. Email is also not the best format for more complicated questions, as most college professors don’t have the time to respond to lengthy emails.

Online Office Hours

Many professors who teach online classes hold office hours on the Internet. This allows students to get to know their college professors, ask questions about the course and clarify issues with assignments.

We recommend taking advantage of online office hours as often as possible. It’s one of the best ways to converse with your college professors, since you don’t usually have the option to interact with them in person.


In some cases, college professors will give students their office phone number to ask questions. This mode of communication is a good option to establish a more personal connection with your college professors.

However, the phone is not always a viable means for professors to talk to their students. Before trying to call your professors who teach online classes, make sure that they’re open to receiving calls from students. If not, you may give a bad impression.

In Person

Meeting your college professors in person is not always an option, seeing as most students choose distance education for convenience’s sake. Still, if your professors that teach online classes offer in-person office hours, we’d recommend attending if possible. It’s the most direct way to communicate with your college professors, and can help establish a lasting impression. Moreover, you can get all your questions answered at once without waiting for an email response.

Even if they don’t officially offer in-person office hours, some professors who teach online classes may be willing to schedule individual appointments. Feel free to ask your professor about this if you’re unsure.

Quick Search: Find the College that's Right for You!



Visit Our Student Center

Get on track!

Visit our Student Center

And find out everything you need to know about planning for college.