Considering a Virtual Course

Be Prepared
Know that your online courses are not self-paced and require reliable access to the internet. As an online learner at your college you should be prepared and engaged in your coursework, especially on the first day of class. Take a few minutes to explore and familiarize yourself with your online course when you enter it for the first time. Read the start here page and the syllabus thoroughly. Ask yourself, “Does this look like a course that I can be successful in?” Then, if you have questions, contact your instructor.

Understand that a course syllabus is a contract between both your instructor and you, and that a course syllabus is subject to change with prior notice. If a schedule is provided, print it off, or save it to your computer. As an online learner it is essential for you to know at a glance what and when things need to be completed in your online course.

Be Involved                                                                            
If discussion boards are used in your course take the time in them to develop thoughtful responses to discussion topics. Do not just say yes, no, or I agree. Use your textbooks, along with other sources, back up your point, and always cite those sources you do use. One benefit of taking an online course is that you are given time to consider what you will say and how you will say it. Make your contributions meaningful.
Make an effort to connect with your fellow classmates. They can be as important of a resource to you as the instructor of your course. Plan to check your online course and college email account at least every other day. Doing so will help you stay active, involved, and on track for success in your online course. Additionally, you will frequently receive important announcements via your email.

Be Careful
Save your work early, often, and before you submit it. This way you will have a record of your work, and you will be able to resubmit your work in the event of any technical mishap. Always put your first initial and last name on any document or file you submit in your online course.

Reach Out
If you start to fall behind in your online course do not wait. Do the next assignment/activity in the course. Make an effort first, and while you are doing that, talk to your instructor to discover how you can best catch up. If you are having an issue, be it technical, or otherwise, contact your instructor immediately.

Be Honest
This is especially important in an online course. There are software programs that detect plagiarism (copying others work). Also, IP address can be traced, test times can be compared, and questions can be easily evaluated to detect cheating in online exams. If you are not sure what would be considered plagiarism or cheating, please ask your instructor.