Q&A: Does Grammar Matter in Online Classes?

A: This is a great question. As a student, you should always be mindful of the work you are submitting and presenting in the classroom. While a psychology course is focused on learning and applying psychology, you are still in an academic setting. Students are expected to present themselves and their work on an academically-appropriate level.

You may be wondering why it matters or what "academically-appropriate" means. Let's address both. Academically-appropriate means having pride as a student. When someone takes pride in something, they exhibit appreciation for their work and are attentive to the details. This means submitting your work on time. It also means being grammatically aware in casual settings, like discussion forums, as well as formal instances, like assignments. If you are serious about your education and completing your diploma, degree and/or program, you display this professionalism by having an attentive attitude in your work and with the class as whole.

This matters because formal education is not only meant to teach you about specific topics and subjects, but also to help you learn life skills. When you graduate from high school, hopefully you've learned some great lessons that will prepare you for post-secondary education. In college (including vocational programs), you should graduate prepared for your career field and with experiences that you can apply to life as well.

In your career, regardless of the field, you will need to represent yourself professionally. Whether you dress casually, in a uniform, or in a suit, you are expected to look professional and well-kept. You are expected to communicate respectfully and to provide a specific service. You can learn the importance of these skills by developing the discipline needed to turn-in grammatically correct assignments on time.

With all of that being said, just remember that you should represent yourself as a student who takes pride in their work and education. While the content is important, it's difficult to understand and appreciate that when multiple grammatical and spelling errors are present or if there are severe ones at that. Remember, in school as in life, presentation can be as important as the message.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!