This guide was created to help students become familiar with their online learning environment. It includes tips and tricks to help you succeed in online courses. Students taking an on-campus course with an online portion will also benefit from this guide.

Throughout the Semester

  • Read the announcements and check your courses daily.
  • Know who to contact. If your test kicked you out before you had a chance to finish then it is reasonable to contact the professor. If Canvas crashed, contact ITS.

Making Contact

Talking to your professor can be intimidating. You don't want to take up their time. You don't want to sound unintelligent. You aren't sure how to ask the question. Do not worry, we were all there at one point, too. Keep these in mind when opening a dialogue.

  • While response times will vary, allow up to 24 hours. Situations come up throughout the day in which a professor might not be able to respond right away.
  • Politely send the email again. If you have not heard back within the 24 hours then send the email again. Second time is usually a charm.
  • Limit the number of emails sent. If at all possible, write down your questions and at the end of the day send one email. Who knows, maybe you'll have it figured out by then.
    • The worst thing you can possibly do is send an email every 5 minutes. This shows a lack of professionalism.
  • Due to high volume of emails professors receive daily the response you receive may be short. If you need further assistance it is okay to ask.
  • Do not ask a homework question the day it is due unless you have opened prior dialogue. This shows poor academic integrity on your part.
  • Keep in mind that the professors are here to help you get to the correct answer, not to just give you the answer.

Ask The Right Questions

"My code won't run."

This tells the professor nothing about the problem you are having. Provide more context about what your code does, and steps you have already tried to remedy the issue. Do not copy and paste your code to your professor.

I am receiving the following exception: InputMismatchException and I have searched on Google and a site states that this happens when the wrong data type is typed in. I have tried changing my variable from an Integer to a String but now my code will not compile. What am I missing?

This is much better. It explains what particular issues the student is struggling with, what they have tried, but most importantly that they know what the exception means. They even checked Google first which is okay because they are using it to understand the error.