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Online Learning Expectations & Policies at SoPA

A student thinking during an online class at Tulane School of Professional Advancement in New Orleans, LA

Online learning at the Tulane School of Professional Advancement offers flexible learning opportunities for students who are studying from anywhere around the globe. In order to succeed in your online learning environment, SoPA has laid out some basic expectations and policies that all students should follow. Explore the information below to prepare for your first online course.

Instructor Expectations for Online Learning

Looking first at what your online instructor expects from you, there are a few general guidelines for getting off to a good start in your e-course. Prior to the start of the course, you will gain access to the Canvas course site for your online course and should tour the site to become familiar with all of the materials and resources the instructor has provided. Study the syllabus for the course, which will act as the “road map” for how the course will be conducted. The syllabus will include the following essential information:

  • Contact information for the instructor
  • A description of the course and its content
  • Any prerequisites for the course
  • A description of the course learning objectives
  • The required textbook and/or readings (and other required/optional books and/or materials)
  • The course deliverables (for example, tests, papers, oral presentation, group projects, etc.)
  • The value (percent) of each graded assignment
  • The due dates for course assignments and/or scheduled tests/examinations

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

In addition to the above, look for course site announcements, emails, and other guidance from your instructor. Also, do not hesitate to email your instructor if you have questions or concerns about any aspect of your online course. Be sure to identify yourself and the course you are referencing in all written correspondence. Instructors will respond to your email questions within a 24-hour timeframe and even faster, when possible.

Please be sure to only write to your instructor from your official Tulane email account or from your Canvas Inbox account. Your instructor’s Tulane email address can be found on the “Home” page in your Canvas course site. In addition, depending on the preferences of individual instructors, you are likely to be provided with additional means for communicating with your instructor, such as through a course site “Faculty Office Forum" or webinar classroom chats.

Participation & Communication Expectations

As a rule of thumb, you should plan to log in to your e-course class site a minimum of three times a week. To get the most from the online learning experience, we recommend that students participate in all activities, including optional online activities like joining in on icebreaker forum discussions. Also, remember the following general guidelines for online communications:

  • As stated above, be sure to identify yourself and the course you are referencing in all of your email communications with your instructor
  • Be sure to change the subject line in an email if you are introducing a new topic
  • Do not type in all uppercase letters (since using all uppercase letters is the equivalent of shouting in text-based online discussions)
  • Use the spell check function prior to sending/submitting all of your course-related communications
  • If your course deliverables include essay or short answer postings on group discussion boards, be sure to copy and paste the question/topic you are addressing at the start of your reply and use the copy/paste command instead of attaching a document so that your instructor and classmates can find your work more quickly
  • When in doubt about whether a discussion comment may be too controversial, please consider that it is always better to discuss course material in a dispassionate and collegial manner

All college-level academic work requires attribution for the ideas of others and the published materials used. If your instructor does not specify a particular style guide to use, you can always use these resources from the Tulane library:

Testing Expectations Using a Respondus Lockdown Browser

Instructors will provide a minimum window of 48 hours to take all online tests and/or examinations. In addition, some of the tests and exams you take in online courses will be presented in a Respondus LockDown Browser format, which is an application that you must first download and install on your computer.

Once the application is installed, you can follow these steps to complete your exam:

A girl using a laptop during an online class for Tulane School of Professional Advancement in New Orleans, LA

  • Close all programs running on your computer
  • Locate the “LockDown Browser” shortcut on your computer and double-click on the button to launch the program
  • If prompted to close a blocked program (e.g., screen capture, instant messaging, or other application), choose “Yes” when prompted
  • Log in to your Canvas course site
  • Navigate to the quiz and select the appropriate “Take a Quiz” link
  • Once a quiz has been started with the LockDown Browser program, you cannot exit until the “Submit Answers” button is clicked

Tulane University Honor Code

All academic assignments in online courses are conducted under the provisions of the Tulane University Honor Code. In turn, if a student wishes to appear before the Honor Board to counter an allegation of a violation of the Honor Code, the student must keep in mind that they will need to do so in New Orleans. Further, if a student waives the right to appear in person before the Honor Board, written statements will be accepted. Any student behavior that has the effect of interfering with education, pursuit of knowledge, or fair evaluation of a student’s performance is considered a violation. The following are defined as violations:

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Fabrication
  • False information
  • Unauthorized collaboration
  • Multiple submission
  • Sabotage
  • Unfair advantage
  • Facilitation of academic dishonesty
  • Tampering with academic records
  • Improper disclosure

For full definitions of each of these violations, please reference the Academic Code of Conduct. Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in this code.

Other Important Policies & Information

  • All Tulane University students must conduct themselves in accordance with the policies outlined in the Tulane University Student Code of Conduct.
  • All Tulane University students must follow the Policies, Guidelines, and Recommendations laid out by Technology Services.
  • Tulane provides all current students with Trend Micro OfficeScan Antivirus (for Windows and Mac). For more information, visit the Tulane University Software Distribution Center.
  • Copyright Policy: All instructor and/or textbook publisher provided materials in each SoPA online course site are protected by the copyright and other intellectual property laws. Accordingly, reproduction or retransmission of online course materials, in whole or in part, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the copyright holder, is a violation of copyright law. A single copy of the online course site materials may be made solely for personal, non-commercial use. Again, users may not distribute such copies to others, whether or not in electronic form, whether or not for a charge or other consideration, without prior written consent of the copyright holder of the materials.
  • Disability Accommodations: Any student with a disability and in need of course or examination accommodations should request accommodations through the Goldman Center for Student Accessibility located in the Science and Engineering Lab Complex on the Uptown Campus at (504) 862-8433 or Also, please request any needed accommodations as soon as possible. In addition, please provide a copy of your approved accommodation form from the Goldman Center for Student Accessibility to each instructor. All SoPA course instructors are committed to working with the Center for Student Accessibility to ensure all approved accommodations are provided. Still, if you do not deliver the approved accommodation form to each professor, your professors will not know you have been approved to receive accommodations and will have no basis for providing accommodations.

The School of Professional Advancement is committed to your success as an online learner. For additional information and guidance, please explore the general SoPA Policies page or the Tulane University Student Resources page. You may also explore how to navigate SoPA's online learning management system called Canvas.