Guidance for Online Learning

Find out more about online learning etiquette

Arriving on Time

You need to join the session at the timetabled start time so you are ready when the session starts. You may be able to enter the session before the specified time or you may be placed in a ‘waiting room’ before your tutor starts the session.


Speaking to Others Online

You should not say anything online that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. Remember, it can be more difficult to interpret tone when communicating online, making it easier for others to misinterpret or misunderstand what you have said. Many of your online sessions will be recorded, so if you behave inappropriately, this is likely to have also been recorded.

Avoid inappropriate language. When giving feedback, avoid negative comments and instead use constructive and useful terms. It is important to remember that everyone you are interacting with online is a person with feelings.


Appropriate Dress

You must dress as you would for present-in-person teaching and wear clothing appropriate for face-to-face delivery.


Taking Breaks

You should try not to leave the session, however if this is unavoidable you should do so quietly.


Eating and Drinking during Sessions

It might be useful to have a hot or cold drink to hand during sessions, especially as this can help with speaking. However, it is not suitable to be eating whilst engaging in a learning session.


Sharing your Video

You should have your camera on during teaching sessions and demonstrate engagement in the class. If you have an issue that means your camera must be turned off, you should let your tutor know in advance.

Remember to set your screen to Speaker View so you can focus on the person who is speaking.

It is not necessary, but you may wish to use a simple Newcastle University background if your system has the capacity to produce a background. If not, Teams, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms have a setting which ‘blurs’ the background and we would advise you to use this. You should not use a background that could cause distraction or offense.



You should decide yourself how best to take notes during sessions, however you must ensure that you can still fully engage with the session whilst taking notes.


Screen Sharing

It may be suitable to share your screen during teaching sessions, however you should ensure you have nothing running in the background (such as emails) that could be seen during the screen transfer and would compromise or share personal information.


Recording Sessions

You should not record teaching sessions yourself, unless you have a Student Support Plan (SSP) which grants you this access. If you do have permission to do this, it is for personal use only and must not be shared.

When staff deliver teaching sessions they may use their own research materials, or have permission to use resources that are under license. As such, the performance rights of the tutor remains theirs during any recorded presentation, and the University may hold an educational licence for materials to be recorded but that licence does not extend to recordings that are made without permission.


Leaving the Session

If the content of the teaching session has finished and the tutor is now answering student questions, you should not leave the session. You should respect the questions from your peers and take an active role in the discussion where appropriate.


Problems with Joining Sessions

Be sure to check the joining instructions in good time before the start of the session. If you have an issue joining an online learning session, you should contact your tutor to let them know.


Problems with Internet Connection

You should test whether your internet connection can manage with a webcam on before the session to avoid internet freezes during the class. If necessary, you can keep your webcam off.

If your internet stops working part-way through a session, you should let your tutor know what has happened. You must access the session recording as soon as convenient and before the next session to ensure you catch up with any missed information.


Contributing to Discussion

You should follow the instructions of the tutor, as they may prefer you to contribute to a discussion verbally or to use the chat function. If you have a Student Support Plan (SSP) that grants you permission to avoid contributing to discussion, you should let the tutor know before or after the session, if you feel you need to.

Chat transcripts may be made available after the session. You can access this once it has been made available and you can save a copy of it, should you wish to do so.

You may also find that your tutor uses discussion boards, blog, and wikis on Canvas. You should check the deadlines for work and complete your posting by this time. It is a good idea to complete the work first, then see what others have written as it will help you develop your knowledge. All your posts are expected to be polite and in the same tone that you would want to be addressed yourself.


Using the Private Chat Function

You should follow the instructions of the educator and use the private chat function when it is appropriate to do so. Information shared in private chat is not visible to other participants during the session, but if the session is recorded the chat transcript is saved. You should also be aware that private messages to other students may be visible to the session host.


Break-out Groups

Your tutor may use break-out groups during teaching sessions. Staff may not be present in these groups. You must treat your peers with respect and remain task-focussed.

You must engage with the task and respect the leader of the group. You should contribute to discussion, unless you have an SSP which grants you permission to avoid contributing to discussion. The more active and vocal you are during a learning activity, the more you learn and develop the skills of leadership, team-work and critical thinking within your discipline, all of which will be of great benefit in your working life.