Online, Blended, & Distance Learning: For Students

We provide leadership and expertise in the development and implementation of quality online, hybrid, and distance learning at JMU. With a focus on access, accessibility, equity, and inclusion, we coordinate services, support, and instructional design for online and hybrid learning. Our collaboration and research efforts extend pedagogical effectiveness and learning flexibility in support of engaging, student-centered online and hybrid learning experiences.

Technology Setup and Essential Literacy

Check out Technology Literacy for Success in Online Learning to make sure that you have adequate technology, support, and access information. Canvas Learning Management System is the primary online, blended, and distance learning platform that is supported by the JMU Libraries and JMU Information Technology.  Visit our Learning Innovations & Design Desk online or in Rose Library for more information about Canvas at JMU and support for using it.

Professional Communication for Online Learning


To successfully achieve the learning objectives in an online or blended class, class members are required to have substantial online communication, both asynchronously and synchronously. When you communicate learning-related topics with your professor or peer students with emails, discussions, or assignment comments, asynchronous online communication etiquette will play a role. The following readings provide informative and helpful recommendations for online learning success. These short readings will open in a new window or tab of your web browser:


Similarly, synchronous online classes, visit to office hours, or attending advising seminars with video conferencing tools can be instrumental to learning motivation and success when you pay attention to the etiquette, settings, and process. Below are some proven etiquette and tips for video conferencing:

Prepare yourself. Look clean and sincere. Have a drink of water before you go on. Put a smile on your face and sit up straight.

Clean your desk. Don’t have anything between you and the camera. Consider the visual message you are sending.

Aim your camera. Check your camera angle. Ideally, it should be coming from the middle of the screen. Don’t sit too close or your head will appear much too large. Look at the camera when you speak. Don’t put the camera to your side.

Prepare your background. If you have a sunny window directly behind you, close the blind. Think about what they see behind your head. A clean wall or curtain is better than a cluttered office or weird artwork. Remember, you don’t want to distract your class members, so look to see what they see before you call.

Use verbal cues. When video conferencing with many sites, start your comment by saying your name and location (for example, “This is John at Harrisonburg.”) Doing so helps the video equipment switch to your site and also helps other sites identify who is speaking before the video monitor catches up.

Convey clean audio messages. Wear a headset or a pair of earbuds with a microphone to eliminate echo. When your microphone is on, be careful with side conversations and do not rustle papers or make tapping sounds near the microphone. Any sounds you make will be heard by the other sites and can be distractive.

Communicate with realistic expectations of technology. Direct your questions to a specific site, and preferably a specific individual. Expect a few extra seconds of delay in getting an answer because of the technology and distance involved (at minimum, un-muting the microphone).