Student Guidelines for Online Learning

Suggestions and guidelines for participating in online course meetings

As the international health crisis has required us all to adapt quickly to new conditions for working and learning, we want to offer you some guidance for online classes and meetings. Everyone is doing their best to ensure that the remainder of the semester is successful. We hope that you remain connected and in communication with your faculty and with each other throughout this difficult time. Online meetings and interactions can be an excellent way to stay engaged, get help if you need it, and feel supported. 

Below are some suggestions and guidelines for participating in online course meetings. Please know that everyone recognizes the challenges of transitioning to a homework environment where many factors are beyond your control. We provide these suggestions to help you create a positive environment for your learning, and we expect you to communicate any challenges with your instructors and with technical support when needed. 

If you have additional questions about participation in online learning, contact Rice Online at If you have technology concerns and challenges, call the OIT Help Desk at 713-348-HELP (4357), or email 

General Rules for Zoom Meetings: 

  • Allow yourself enough time before the start of class to connect to the live session, both by audio and video. For more information on working with Zoom, see
  • To join a Zoom meeting for your class, click on the link provided by your professor. You can also find this link on the Canvas page for your class. 
  • Try to position your computer so that the main source of light (window, ceiling light, lamp) is in front or above you so that you are not in shadow - this will allow your instructor and classmate to see you better and will facilitate better group interactions while using Zoom. 
  • If possible, use a headset or earbud-style headphones as your computer speakers can cause static and/or an echo for other people in the room. If you need help finding a headset that will work with your computer, please contact 
  • We advise against the use of your smartphone for Zoom class sessions. You will need a larger screen to be able to see your peers and instructors, as well as materials (eg., powerpoint slides). If you have any issues or concerns with your laptop, please contact 713-348-HELP (4357),, or 
  •  To avoid excessive feedback noises in online meetings, be sure to mute your microphone by clicking the microphone icon in the corner of the Zoom window when you join a meeting, and unmute it only when you want to speak. 
  • Speak as if you are face-to-face with your class, and look at the camera to create eye contact. 

 Setting the Stage for your Zoom class 

  • Take steps to remove distractions like social media or texting during live meetings so you can be fully present and focused with your professor and classmates. 
  • Please dress appropriately and act responsibly to manage your physical surroundings during video conferencing. It is important that you take steps to prevent violating the privacy of people in your area and to prevent the recording of private information. Remove private information from the view of the camera and notify people in your immediate surroundings that you are participating in a video conference that is being recorded. 
  • Be sure to tell those you live with about your academic schedule and deadlines. The more they know about what you are doing, the more they can understand and help you as you participate in classes and complete assigned work. 

 Technical Details for Staying Connected 

  • Run a system check prior to your first meeting each week to ensure you have an up-to-date browser. For Zoom, check for updates on a regular basis. It is also recommended that you reboot your computer regularly to ensure your computer is up-to-date and to minimize technical issues. 
  • Test your microphone and speakers/headset prior to joining a meeting. 
  • Try to minimize the number of programs running during a meeting, especially those that use internet connectivity or notifications. If possible, disconnect other devices (such as printers) from the internet while you are using Zoom. 
  • If your video is not working, please follow these steps: 
    • Make sure all other programs that utilize the camera are not using the camera and/or are closed. 
    • Restart your computer. 
    • Uninstall the Zoom application and reinstall the latest version. 
    • Reach out to 713-348-HELP (4357) or if you continue to have challenges. 
 Finally, remember that your instructor and classmates are also engaging in remote learning for the first time. Please be patient with yourself and others as we all adapt to these new modes of communicating and learning. If you have helpful suggestions and creative ideas for enhancing online communication, share them with your instructor and peers. Reach out for support when needed and make opportunities to stay engaged with your courses.

Keywordsonline learning guidelines course   Doc ID99151
OwnerLiz B.GroupRice U
Created2020-03-19 17:10 CSTUpdated2022-11-30 06:24 CST
SitesRice University
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