Getting Started Checklist

Wondering what to do on the first day of an online course?
This checklist is a great place to start!

Day 1

  • Login to myCourses and browse your course sites. If you don't see an online course you are taking, verify your enrollment in COIN. If you are still unable to access your class, contact the Student Support Helpline at or 508-999-8505.
  • Locate your syllabus for each class. A syllabus is a document, provided by your instructor, which acts as a guide to your course. Check your syllabus to find:
    • Your assignments.
    • Due dates.
    • Expectations from your instructor.
    • Text books or other materials you need to buy.
    • How and when to contact your instructor.
    • View a sample syllabus.
  • Make note of assignments due over the next two weeks.Create a weekly calendar and mark off when you will work on each assignment.
    • Almost all courses begin with some sort of introduction post in a discussion board.
  • If you have not done so already, purchase your books and any additional course materials.
  • Contact your instructor if you have any questions.

During Class

  • Once the course starts, make sure you know how to navigate the content. Direct any questions to your instructor.
  • Log into the course every day for announcements and course messages.
  • Back up your work regularly. There is no such thing as backing up to often!Make sure to review both the syllabus and the course content regularly.
    • Complete all written assignments in a word processor and save a copy of your work before submitting it to myCourses.
  • Check your email daily. Your instructor or UMass Dartmouth may have important announcements for you!
  • Review your calendar to see what assignments or materials are due in the next week.
  • Check to make sure you can locate and access assignments or assessments in the course before the due date.
  • Make sure to participate and interact with your instructor and classmates through the course discussion or messages tools.
  • Keep track of your assignments and grades. If you have a question, speak with your instructor.
  • If anything in the course doesn't make sense to you, ask for clarification right away.
  • If you are having difficulties completing work, contact your instructor.
    • Your instructor may be able to support you during the course, but would need to know about any challenges you're facing early on.

Wrapping up the Class

  • Make sure you know when your course ends.
  • Communicate with your instructor regarding any questions about incomplete work or your final grade.
  • Make sure to set aside time to complete any final papers, projects or exams for the course as these may take longer or need more preparation time.
  • Remember, you will lose access to the course 60 days after it ends. Be sure to save copies of all work (including discussion posts). You may need it later.