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AUP at Home

Digital Classroom Etiquette

by Savannah Gerlach

As colleges and universities across the world close their campus doors and transform into digital learning spaces, students everywhere will be adjusting to a learning style that feels very different. We all know that sitting behind a computer screen can change the way we interact with the world at large. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to follow digital classroom etiquette and bring your best self to your online classes.


You would never dream of showing up to class without a notebook and pen, or with an uncharged computer, or without last night’s homework. Your rhythm of leaving your apartment and heading to campus might have changed, but don’t let that change your work ethic. Your professors may be sending you materials and assignments to have on hand during class, so make sure you have everything loaded and ready to go on your computer when class begins. Running to the other room to grab your textbook or charger might mean you miss something important.  


You will undoubtedly find that your shared apartment has become a kind of home office, with your flatmates camped out on the couch and at every desk, working on group projects, calling their staff mentors, conferencing with professors, and calling home for some much needed support.   

In times like these, the mute button is your best friend. You can reduce background noise for the other people on a call by muting yourself until you need to speak. While you’re at it, you might think about turning off your camera too. You may wish to enjoy the luxury of attending classes while wearing your pajamas, but your professors and classmates don’t need to know that. 


As you collectively log in to digital classrooms from your couches, beds and under your blankets, it can be easy to feel disconnected from your fellow classmates as well as the rest of the world. But remember, sometimes the best thing about college classes is connecting with the unique set of people you share that class time with. Staying engaged by asking questions, starting debates, and showing your peers and professors that you care about the material will motivate others around you to do the same. Resist the temptation to browse the internet or turn on a video game. If you struggle to concentrate, take the extra step of creating a quiet workspace that helps you stay in the zone.  


In many ways, today’s university students are more prepared than any generation to adapt successfully to online classes. You probably have extensive experience maintaining relationships, seeking support and navigating different platforms from multiple devices. Now is the time to put those skills to use.  

Create group chats to tackle group assignments and support one another. Reach out to an AUP staff member to ask how you can use one of the numerous available resources for this period. If you’re taking part in AUP’s career mentoring program, use the time to ask your mentors how they’re managing their time while they work remotely too.  


Your first digital class might see a few bumps along the way. Technical difficulties, weak WiFi, or overactive group chats might pose a few problems, but remember that we are all in this together, and you can make a big difference in the success of a class. If you a have trouble hearing your professor’s lecture, use the group chat to signal this to them. Are assignments not clear or are any online materials missing? Speak up! And if you have any helpful advice for your professors, you can reach out to them after class via email to share it with them. 

You can find more information about learning remotely in our online FAQs.