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Do's and Don'ts of Online Learning

A person working on a laptop for an online class at Tulane School of Professional Advancement in New Orleans, LA

At the Tulane School of Professional Advancement, we support students who are earning their degrees completely or partially online. We offer completely online master's degree programs as well as individual online courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level. These do's and don'ts of online learning are designed to help you succeed as a virtual student.

A thumbs up icon symbolizing what you should do during online classes at Tulane School of Professional Advancement in New Orleans, LA Do Participate

It can be challenging to establish a rapport with your instructor and with other students without the visual cues of communication. Bridge the gap by fully engaging in the subject matter so you can ask thoughtful questions about the content and offer substantive participation in class chats and online discussions. Make sure that you're productively contributing to the course to create a positive impression with others.

A thumbs down icon symbolizing what you should not do during online classes at Tulane School of Professional Advancement in New Orleans, LA Don't Expect It to Be Easy

Many students have the perception that online classes are an easy way to earn an A. In fact, this form of learning can be as challenging, or more so, than learning in a classroom setting. Underestimating the amount of work expected can result in time management issues that will impact not only your grade but also your ability to learn the material. Although online learning gives you the flexibility to work in your own time and space, it can be difficult for those with a busy schedule to make time to study and complete assignments.

Do Familiarize Yourself With the Technology Before Class Starts

Don't wait until the last minute to sign into your online learning portal. Before class starts, get comfortable with the system and its functions. Know where you'll go for assignments, how to access the syllabus, and who to contact if you need technical support. Read all provided materials so you'll be able to hit the ground running and won't miss any key information or deadlines. Introduce yourself to your instructor and fellow classmates by adding a thread to the Ice Breaker Forum on the discussion board.

Don't Go It Alone

Take advantage of the resources Tulane offers for online students. Check in with your professor regularly and ask questions when you don't understand the material to avoid falling behind. You may also build relationships with other students and correspond over email or chat when you are working on a challenging assignment. For those seeking tutoring assistance, Tutor Matching Service connects students to fee-based tutoring options. The library is also a helpful resource if you need to brush up on fundamental skills needed for the courses you're taking. For more ideas, view the full listing of available student resources.

Do Maintain Professionalism

When communicating on the online forum for the class, in a chat program, or through email, remember to maintain a polite, professional tone. Treat your fellow students in the same way you would colleagues. Avoid revealing too much irrelevant personal information, using sarcasm or emoticons, or posting unnecessary messages that could be perceived as time-wasting.

If you're interested in online learning at Tulane SoPA, explore our undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed for working adults. You can also learn more about the admissions process and complete your online application.