Kay L. McLennan, Ph.D., Professor of Practice


Students in previous courses taught by Dr. McLennan offer the following advice for anyone contemplating an online course.

I think being able to take classes online is a great benefit for adults especially those with children (from my perspective). Both parents pretty much work now a days so time away from the home is hard to come by. Being able to get online on my own time frame has been so helpful otherwise I would not have been able to go back to school.

The one thing I would give as advice is manage your time in advance. Know what the expectations are for the class such as how much time per week you are to be online for the class. Schedule yourself a specific time when you are able to be at a computer, uninterrupted. This allows you to do the class work and still manage the family and job.

Good luck.


I must admit, I was quite wary of my first online course. Since completing it, I have made an effort to take one almost every semester now. I enjoy the flexibility and ease at which I can access notes, homework, etc... at a time that is most convenient to me (as I am an early morning person, it is nice to be able to do school work at 4/5 AM). While online courses are certainly challenging in that one is forced to manage their time in their terms rather than in class time, it has been a worthwhile experience that I will repeat again.

--Mike Bingham

I have enjoyed this class, as I have enjoyed the other online classes that I have taken, however there are several factors that one should consider before you take the "electronic plunge."

1) Online classes require discipline. No one is going to hold your hand and that one to one feedback is not there.

2) READ thoroughly both your assignments as well as the instructions. It hurts to do work that you didn't need to do.

3) Be very aware of deadlines, these classes simulate "Real World" conditions more than standard classes.

4) Talk to your classmates; trust me there is power in numbers.

5) Your instructor is there to help, not the enemy...ask questions...lots of them!

6) If put in a group setting, don't be afraid to take charge, someone has to. If you're wrong, your group will let you know.

7) Learn the ins and outs of Blackboard, it tends to get tricky sometimes, but the tutorial within it is great.

8) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, do your work in a separate application (WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, etc...) and save it to your hard drive. Then copy and paste or import the files to Blackboard...One day you will thank me for this one.

9)Offer assistance when you can, these classes require you to learn whatever the subject matter is, but at the same time you are practicing some advanced web skills, that you probably didn't know you possessed. Everybody may not have the same skills, lend a hand.

10) ENJOY IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!


These are my tips for excelling in online classes. I have taken all that Tulane offers and look forward to more added each semester. These online classes are the new current/trend in education.

Many student believe online is easier...I believe they are the same as a classroom. The only difference being you do not have a classroom setting. The convenience of taking these classes outweigh the inconveniences. Children's, work, family, and the time are some of the reasons to take online classes.

Below I have listed some tips that in my humble opinion one needs in excelling in online classes.

1. Have a computer that is reliable and will perform in all aspects of the course taken. This means the correct software.
2. Be sure and back-up all information and homework.
3. Make a buddy in class
4. Show respect to all students and teachers.
5. Read the syllabus clearly and make a calendar for all important dates in class, such as assignments due and tests.
6. Do not be afraid to ask questions from the instructor. When in doubt ASK!
7. Plan your time wisely on the computer and do not become over-tired. It would be best to walk away and come back to your work at a later date. Some nights I have worked till the screen became blurred. I now walk away till the next day and all the work is still there. It will help you think clearer too.
8. Be kind to yourself!
9. Accept all the challenges of online classes in working with a group. Learn to adapt to your group, even if you wanted to be in another.
10. Talk to other students that have taken online classes for feedback.

--Burma Dee

I've taken 3 on line classes so far at Tulane University College and the biggest piece of advice I can give students is that you need to make sure that you are self motivated. Its easy to keep up with your work when you attend a class in person and the instructor reminds you of what is due each week. However, with an on line course you have to remind your self each week to review your syllabus and see what's due and when.


* The most important thing to remember when taking your first online course is that you are on your own time-wise. You must be disciplined enough to meet deadlines.

* It may help to print out all assignments or course material and work from the paper, rather than the computer screen. It helps to be able to flip between paper pages, rather than web pages.

* Always back up your work - either to your hard drive or a disk.

* If possible, it is best to have DSL or other fast-access Internet access. Dial-up is okay, but it is painfully slow!

* Remember, classmates are reading your information/responses on a computer screen; this does not easily convey your feelings behind what you write. Be careful not to post anything that could offend if taken the wrong way.

* Online courses are very convenient, in that you do not have to meet a class at a specific time. I try to take at least one each semester, along with traditional classroom courses. It is much easier to juggle assignments and due dates when you can work on them at your convenience.

* Have fun.

-- Stephanie Fletcher


When I made the decision, 2 years ago now, to finish my degree, online courses were definitely the best method for me. I am currently established in my career, a full-time wife and mother, along with other hobbies and part-time extracurricular activities. The online experience has given me the choice to really focus on my education, at my pace, but with definite deadlines. I wouldn't have it any other way!

Critical advise for taking an online course is to make sure you're organized and always on top of the assigned tasks and responsibilities. You're in total control of your demise!

This is my second course with Dr. McLennan and I have come away from both courses thoroughly endowed with all the knowledge I need to take my career to the next level.


Kunteia Carson



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Last modified: May 26, 2008