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Top Do’s and Don’ts of Online Learning Classes

By high school, you know the ins and outs of the classroom. Arrive before the second bell, raise your hand to ask a question, don’t interrupt, and talk to your teacher after class if you have a question. But what works in the physical classroom may not work for online school. If you’re unsure of the student expectations for online learning, you’re not alone. Students taking high school classes online can brush up on the do’s and don’ts of online class etiquette and become virtual star students.

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Do

  • Do wear appropriate clothes – attire you would normally wear inside of the classroom. Put on a nice shirt during the school day and change into comfy clothes afterwards.
  • Do create an optimal study/work space. Pick a spot in your house where you can clear space for your computer, notebooks and whatever other tools you need. Most importantly, be sure to establish your working space where you have the most reliable Internet connection.
  • Do test your technology before the start of the class to ensure that they all function properly, including your monitor, headphones, and microphone.
  • Do charge your tablet or laptop fully before class or simply leave it plugged in during the class.
  • Do use the restroom before class to avoid getting up multiple times throughout.
  • Do check your visuals before the class or meeting to ensure your background is as neutral as possible and not a distraction. Check that your camera to ensure you are in clear, straight view and that you are exhibiting good posture – head and shoulders on the screen and sitting up straight.
  • Do inform the other people with whom you reside of your schedule so that they can respect your privacy as much as possible, or politely ask them to not disrupt you during certain times, or lock your door to prevent interruptions.
  • Do read the syllabus beforehand so that you can be prepared for the course material and discussion, as well as meet any specific deadlines outlined in the syllabus.
  • Do have water and a snack on standby. Online courses may not involve P.E. or running to your next class, but you may get hungry and thirsty. Instead of getting up to grab a snack, put food and water next to you for easy access.
  • Do log in and arrive to the virtual class on time, preferably several minutes before the scheduled start time. Be in your seat with all your materials gathered when the teacher starts the class virtually.
  • Do use the mute function. In a busy virtual classroom, the mute function is your friend. Try staying muted during lectures and while other students are asking questions.
  • Do participate as much as possible. Ask questions, offer answers to class questions when prompted and take notes.
  • Do use the chat feature responsibly. Use this space to ask for help, provide a quick answer or give feedback to a classmate’s point.
  • Do ignore outside online activities that may distract you from your class or meeting, such as social media websites, videos or shopping. Block pop-ups and disable outside notifications during your class.

Don't

  • Don’t sit yourself around distractions. Study spaces should be away from tempting diversions like the TV, game console or a family pet.
  • Don’t snack without muting yourself first. Nobody wants to hear loud chewing noises. No matter the snack, go on mute before taking a bite.
  • Don’t turn off your camera for long periods of time or frequently to get up and go do things around your house/space.
  • Don’t wait for the teacher to ask you to go on mute. If someone or something loud enters your study space, you’ll want to mute yourself right away to avoid disturbing class.
  • Don’t post links and memes in the chat. The classroom chat is not the place to socialize with your peers. Save funny videos, memes and gifs for private messaging with your friends.
  • Don’t blame late or missed assignments on technical issues. If you are experiencing technical difficulties, let you instructor know in advance and try to find an alternative way of submitting your work.
  • Don’t give up if you encounter a technical difficulty during a class, whether it be lost Internet connection or accidentally logging out of a meeting. Make every effort to resume your attendance and participation in the class before informing your teacher of the problem.

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Last Reviewed: October 2021