Introduction to Online Spaces


This guide has been developed by faculty at the University of Mississippi’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric to help students take an online course. It exists as a helpful tool for students to use as they transition between traditional courses and online course delivery. With this in mind there are several key points to keep in mind as you consider using this guide.

Who you are matters:

Your interactions with your classmates help inform your learning and create a virtual class space.  This is your community, and even though it is a virtual one, it is still vital that you interact with your fellow classmates on assignments and within our discussion forum.

What does this interaction look like?

Think about being a critical friend to one another. A critical friend offers more than just positive words of encouragement about an assignment. They read carefully and thoughtfully offer suggestions where the person can improve.

Online vs. traditional class:

One of the most important skills you will need to master to be successful in this online course is time management. For participation assignments, the faster you complete an assignment and post it  the more time others will have to comment on it and reply to you. Thus, it pays to complete assignments ahead of time verses waiting until an hour before the due date.

Blackboard/ software is challenging:

Part of budgeting your time with an online course means making the time to learn and deal with technical issues in our Learning Management System Blackboard and other software. Your instructor can help to some extent, but again, think about budgeting your time and completing your assignments before deadlines to leave yourself time to deal with these challenges.

Myths About Online Spaces

The Online Education Initiative (OEI) developed a number of helpful multimedia tutorials examining some common myths many first time online student have about taking an online course.