Get To Know Your Instructor

​​​​​Every online class has an instructor who is available to:

  • Answer your questions about the course content
  • Grade your assignments
  • Help you succeed in the course

How Do I Contact My Instructor?

The instructor's contact information can be found in your course syllabus. Make a note of your instructor's email address, so you have it in case you need to reach out to him or her.

When Should I Contact My Instructor?

Contact your instructor whenever you need to — there is no such thing as a dumb question, and it's likely other students have the same question too! Remember, your instructor is there to help you succeed in the course, reach out to her or him if you need help:

  • Understanding a difficult concept that you encounter in the materials
  • Completing an assignment because you're not sure what to do
  • Catching up if you fall behind
  • ​Requesting an extension (remember that not all professors will grant extensions; please refer to the course syllabus for any information regarding requests for extensions)


Reaching Out To Your Instructor

Subject line: Include your course number, section and reason for reaching out (for example, PSYC-2301-53240: Help with Assignment 3).

Be courteous: Begin your email with a greeting that addresses your instructor politely, such as "Dear Mr. Smith" or "Hi Dr. Jones."

Provide detail: Be specific about why you are reaching out and what you are having problems with. For example, “in section 6.1.2 Neurons, I’m not clear on…” or “on part 2 of assignment 4, you ask us to compare and contrast two examples, do both those examples need to come from the chapter we read this week or can I choose an example from chapter 2?”

Close with your full name: After your message, end with a closing and signature, such as "Sincerely, Jane Doe" or "Thanks, John Doe.”

A response may take time: Instructors will aim to get back to you quickly, but don’t expect a response within a few minutes. It can take up to 24 hours for an instructor to respond. This is really important to consider when it comes to granting extensions for ass​​ignment. (Generally, it’s best to ask for extensions well in advance.)​


Insights From an Online Instructor

We asked one of our instructors for tips and advice on how to succeed in an online class.

Develop a plan and stick to it

“For my eight-week online classes, I get my students to create a timetable of the week of eight blocks of two-hour study sessions. For each two-hour block, I suggest they spend 20 minutes studying, take a break for 10 minutes and repeat until the session is up.”

Read the syllabus

“Read the syllabus carefully, because it tells you what you need to do each week and what assignments you need to complete by when."

Read the material

“It can be tempting to skip chunks of the material you have to read, but you could easily miss something that comes up in a test or quiz.”

Make notes by hand

“The research shows writing out notes by hand increases your learning and recall more than typed notes. And you need to take notes. You will not succeed if you just sit in front of the screen and scroll down the page without taking notes.”

Finally, if nothing else, remember to Communicate, Plan and Read.

“Watch the following video to learn more about key ingredients for your success.”