Read the Directions

Some of us have an aversion to reading directions. If we make a purchase that requires assembly, our initial impulse is to set the instructions aside and get right to work.  For the engineers among us, that may not be much of a problem. But, for the rest of us, the result is often frustration, and lost time and money-running to the hardware store to replace broken parts.

Enrolling in an online course is exciting and it is tempting to dive in without reading the directions, basic course information, for example: required course materials, instructions for completing and submitting assignments, exam policies, the grading scale and determination of course grade, and the turnaround time for assignment and exam review.

The best way to begin a course well and progress through it without any glitches is to pay close attention to the introductory course material. Details are important. For example, many course texts are available in multiple editions and formats. Looking at the title of a text and its authors, but ignoring the ISBN number specified in the course syllabus, is likely to result in a purchase of the wrong material, adding to the cost of the course and putting us behind schedule.  Assuming that in every course a grade of C is 70-80% may lead to an unpleasant surprise, if the minimal C grade in the course we are enrolled in is 75%. When it comes to the course syllabus and other introductory material, the right policy is to read slowly and then reread.

Some questions to consider:

What is the format of the course assignments?

What is the format of the course exams?

What is the course’s grading scale?

How is the course grade determined?

With many different editions of course texts, how can I make sure that I purchase the correct course materials?

Last revised on September 29, 2017.