The Dos and Don’ts of Attending Your Online Lectures

DO: Show up to your class fully dressed

It’s funny to see behind the scenes photos of everyone’s business on the top, PJs on the bottom looks, but if your camera is going to be turned on at any point, it’s safe to be fully dressed in normal peopling attire. You never know when one coffee spill or food delivery knock could cause you to jump up unwittingly and reveal your Captain Americas to everyone. Getting fully dressed also helps your mind switch from relaxing, sleepy time to study time. While we’re talking about video-calls, make sure you give anyone you live with a heads-up to keep them from making any awkward Zoom appearances in the background as well.

DO: Log in to the lecture platform before the course starts

Get comfortable with the system, check for places you can type in questions (not everything has to be asked out loud and in front of everyone) and make sure your computer’s sound and any mics or cameras are functioning properly. If you have any issues, don’t be afraid to ask for help, again, ahead of time.

DON'T: Be afraid to ask questions

You’re in school to learn, so never be afraid to speak up and ask your professor a question. The whole reason they are conducting this online lecture in the first place is to teach you something you don’t already know. So in this case, there really isn’t any such thing as a stupid question. There’s also a good chance that a lot of your classmates might have the very same question and will be thankful you were confident enough to ask it.

DO: Enjoy the flexibility of your online class

Internet permitting, move to the backyard and enjoy the sounds and sights of mother nature. Get comfortable in the coziest room in your house or apartment. We’re afforded something our parents didn’t have when they went to college and that’s the ability to learn and study wherever we want to be.

DON'T: Take notes with a laptop

Yes, when typing you may be able to get down more information as the professor is speaking and speaking quickly. But more words typed into your notes document doesn’t mean you are processing or comprehending the information. In the case of note taking, sometimes more is not always better. It’s best to listen, digest and then summarize by hand – doing so forces the brain to conceptually understand what it is being taught, instead of just mindlessly typing it. This goes a long way when it comes to exams and course success. If you need a backup, use a voice recording device to record your lecture. Again, make sure it works beforehand.

DO: Connect with your peers

Though it may feel like you’re alone taking the course, you do indeed have classmates. Use your online course’s forum to set up a study group or discussion thread or to ask for help if you are struggling with any of your subject’s material (or to make sure your classmates aren’t struggling themselves.)

About the author

Phil Smyres
CEO and Founder of
I graduated from Ohio State University, and I’ve been in Columbus, OH ever since. In 1994, I started buying and selling books on campus with two brick and mortar stores. Those stores have since closed but has remained a premier online retailer for all your textbook needs. During this time, we’ve also added two additional online retailers, and

My interests include spending time with my family, traveling everywhere and watching Ohio State football.