Work Environment

Set up a quiet place in your home where you can work undisturbed. Your computer, room lighting, broadband connection, even your chair—all are key to creating an environment optimized for teaching and scholarship.

Time and Scheduling

  • Find a time management system that works for you. Choose a calendar or time management system that is reliable and easy to update. Make a note of all due dates and set reminders.
  • Print syllabi and course calendars and keep them in a highly visible place so you can refer to them often. 
  • Set aside time each day to devote to your online class the same way you would for teaching a class in person or holding office hours.

The Online Learning Environment

  • Log into your online courses as often as you can. You don’t want to miss out on important updates or discussions that happen in your classes.
  • Check your email often. Remember, students will likely feel isolated, confused and possibly overwhelmed. They will be looking for contact from you as the instructor of the class.
  • Be clear in your communications. Whether it is an email, Brightspace announcement or discussion posting, remember that in online courses, the non-verbal cues that are so important in face-to-face communication are nonexistent.
  • Consider composing emails, discussion posts or responses in a word processing document (e.g., Microsoft Word) first, then copying and pasting into the email or Brightspace announcement or discussion. This can give you time to think about what you want to say and how best to say it, and allows you to check for grammar and spelling errors.


Technology can sometimes fail us. Connectivity fails. Computers crash. Have a backup plan and keep copies of your work on a cloud or backup device. MSU’s Help Desk phone number is (406) 994-1777. 

Personal Life 

For some, working from home can be very isolating. Turn to colleagues, friends or your family for social interaction, even if you need to interact digitally via technologies such Facetime or Skype.