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How to Prepare for Online Courses

Online learning is an exciting adventure that provides a great deal of flexibility and convenience in earning your degree. However, it requires a great deal of self-discipline and motivation on your part to be successful.

The following practices will help you excel in the online course setting.

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. 

Guidelines for Online Communications


  • 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.

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

Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty

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.

Review these additional tips and links to complete your online class preparation:

Things to do

Build Good Habits

  • Identify blocks of time in your weekly schedule to devote to your classes and establish a schedule
  • Stick to your schedule consistently without exception
  • Discuss your new school schedule with friends and family; you may need their support to stick to it
  • Limit your distractions including social media, phone calls, etc. during your class time
  • Establish an appropriate place to study and participate in your online classes
  • Get to know your online professors
  • Reach out for help if you need it – the University has several support networks for students like tutoring, writing assistance, etc.
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Last Updated: 1/16/15