Table of Contents

USC: Extended University

Information for specific audiences:


Expectations for Online Students


As with traditional classroom courses, the outline and structure of a course can vary widely. And, as with any other course, each individual instructor has a personal style and way of working with students that is unique. However, here are some basic things to consider before enrolling in an online course, or as you prepare for it to begin:

  1. You must have basic computer skills and knowledge of basic computer operations. Before starting this class, you should know how to use email, attach files to an email, download documents, use a word processing program, locate information online with a browser, and use Blackboard features (which can be learned quickly).  
  2. You must have access to a computer and the Internet twice per week (at a minimum).
  3. You must be able to navigate Blackboard. You can attend an orientation on the Columbia campus. Go to the Blackboard Support site for more information.
  4. Confirm your registration in the course through VIP.
  5. Login to your online courses the first day of class to ensure you have access.
  6. Use your student email account. This is the email address used by default in Blackboard, and will allow you the easiest way to communicate with your instructor.
  7. Notify your instructor or Blackboard at  or 803-777-6015 if you experience any technical difficulty.
  8. Purchase books and software (if needed) early. Classes start discussing material the first day of the course. It is very easy to fall behind if you don't have your text or other materials. You may have assignments due at the end of the first week that require texts or other materials.
  9. Keep up with work in the class. Students who fall behind are less likely to complete a course successfully. If something happens that is going to cause you to fall behind, contact your instructor immediately.
  10. Read and understand the course policies and procedures in the course syllabus. If you have questions about anything, ask your instructor.

Expectations for Attendance
Although online courses don't require students to attend class at specific time or place, students are still required to "attend" class. For an online course, this means you must:

  • Login to the Blackboard course the first day of class.
  • Email the instructor as prompted to confirm registration.
  • Login to your course each week of class (at a minimum).
  • Complete the course requirements as stated in the course syllabus, including participating in class discussions and communicating with your instructor and other students.


Failure to attend or to participate in a class does not withdraw you from the course. You are responsible for all tuition and fees unless you properly withdraw. Failure to withdraw properly from any course will also result in academic penalties as described in the University Bulletin, Registration Policies section, at


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