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What Professors Expect of Students

Academic Expectations in Online Classes

In many ways, the academic expectations in online courses are much like the expectations in face-to-face courses. However, students need even more self-discipline and motivation in online classes since they don’t have the accountability of a set time to go to class. Online classes include individual assignments, discussion postings, and quizzes/exams much like any other classes. In some online classes, there are also cooperative group projects and assignments. The instructor guides students through activities, posting announcements, delivering lecture materials, responding to questions, and grading assignments and exams. In addition, the instructor provides a time frame within which the course work must be completed. The great benefit of being in an online course is that you have the flexibility of completing the work on your own schedule whether that is 2 a.m. or 11 p.m. However, you must submit the work within the time frame provided by the instructor.

Flexibility of Online Courses

The online course system is open 24 hours a day/7 days a week, and all you need is a computer, course materials and reliable internet to “go to class”. You can log onto your course from anywhere in the world whenever it is convenient for you. However, there are some things to consider. Most of our online courses are asynchronous meaning that students are not online at the same time. Yet, there are deadlines for assignments set by the instructor so be sure to submit your work on time. Make a plan for your classes then work the plan so that you can be successful.


Participation is key in online classes even more so than in face-to-face classes. We all know of a friend who always went to class, sat in the back of the room, and never said a word. Well, you don’t have that option in online classes because you must step up and complete your work. Your discussion postings and assignment submissions are the only way that the instructor knows that you are present. Participation may be in the form of posting a discussion board message, reading course announcements, contributing to a group project, completing a quiz or exam, or even participating in a class survey. You will be expected to log into your online class on a regular basis and complete the work assigned by the instructor. It’s best to set a schedule of specific times each week for each online class and stick to your schedule. Find a quiet space without other distractions like social media, phones, etc. A good rule of thumb is to allot 5 to 10 hours per week per course depending on the number of credit hours and type of course.

Online Communications

As a UofM student, you are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. We expect you to follow generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending email, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, you should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

Effective and appropriate communication in an online course setting can be acheived by abiding by these basic rules.


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails.
  • Respect the comments and privacy of other class members.

Discussion Groups:

  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Academic Integrity

In all of your academic activities, we expect you to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.
Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution. In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.


The University of Memphis Library offers assistance on proper methods for citation and guides to avoiding plagiarism.  

Citing Internet Resources: A Guide for Students - by Community College of Philadelphia

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) - By Purdue University

Turnitin is a widely used resource utilized by both faculty and students for the verification of original written material. Students can use this tool to check their written work to ensure they have properly cited sources.



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Last Updated: 11/6/13