Showing leadership online

All online students can show leadership (Wilson, 2016). We like the advice from Wilson (2016) who identifies three ways that students can show leadership in an online class.

When you lead conversations


When the teacher has assigned a discussion for the class, it is up to the students to take the ideas and turn them into a discussion (Wilson, 2016). You show leadership when you:

  • choose not to wait for other students to post first
  • open a discussion by posing a question, sharing a reading, or telling a little story.
  • help other students gain confidence and courage by offering positive comments on their posts.

Follow the advice on our page called Effective communication to learn the best online communication style for online discussions.

When you take responsibility for your own learning success

This means that you should actively notice what learning activities are working well for you in your online class, and acknowledge activities you find more difficult (Wilson, 2016). You should think about why some activities are easier for you than others, and develop an understanding about why some class activities might not suit your learning style, so that you can look for ways to overcome difficulties, such as asking for help. You should be ready to share the learning strategies you discover with other students in the online class.

When you participate helpfully in group projects

A leader will be an active facilitator in group projects. This student is not bossy, and also is not lazy. The online student leader is ready to participate in any way that will bring about the success of the group project. This means offering to organise and delegate responsibilities if the other students want this. However, the students might say "no, how about [something else] instead". The leader will be ready to negotiate with the whole group to implement these suggestions successfully.


Wilson, E. (2016, May 29). Leadership in online classrooms: In eLearning, everyone is a leader. eLearning Industry.

Student Learning