Classroom Etiquette

If you've never been in a college classroom, it's hard to know what to expect. Here are some helpful tips for making a smooth transition and understanding what college professors expect.
  • If you want respect you have to show respect.
  • The classroom should be a place where students can share ideas and different points of view. It is not necessary to agree, but it is necessary to listen respectfully.
  • Debate is healthy, state your viewpoint and back it with evidence. Be respectful of fellow students' views.  Focus your disagreements on ideas, not on people.
Participation or Disruption
  • Feel free to ask questions at the appropriate times, especially if you don't understand something.
  • Listen to the questions of other students so that you don't ask the same question five minutes later.
  • Instructors want you to ask questions relevant to the material. Instructors want you to answer questions they have asked. Instructors want you to make the material relevant and apply it.  But if you are the student who has something to say on every topic and talks every time there is an opportunity: you may be preventing others from participating. Don't be that student.
When to Ask Questions; In Class or Office Hours
  • Quick question that is on topic- in class
  • Detailed question about my project or test- office hours
  • This topic is confusing- in class
  • I have been feeling totally lost in this class- office hours
Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices
  • Don't text in class- everyone knows you are doing it; even the instructor.
  • Turn off your phone. If you have to have your phone on (for example- you are main contact for childcare issues), put it on vibrate and leave class if you receive an emergency call.
  • Don't listen to music during class.
  • If you use a laptop in class, only use it for class- don't surf the Web or use social media during class.
Emailing Your Instructor
  • Use your Kent State email.
  • List your class in the subject line.
  • Address instructor properly, example: Dear Dr. Smith, Dear Professor Smith or Dear Mr. /Ms. Smith
  • In the first sentence of the email state your name and the class you are writing about.
  • Don't use texting lingo in emails. Type out every word.
  • State clearly the purpose of your email. If you are making a request or asking a question, be brief and clear.
  • Re-read the email before sending to make sure it makes sense as a stand-alone letter.
  • Use your first and last name at the end of the email.
What to do if You Have to Miss a Class
  • Do not miss class. If you do miss class, don't ask the professor if you missed anything important. Of course you missed something important, you missed an entire class!
  • Understand that you may not be able to make up missed work or tests.
  • Each instructor has an attendance policy. Consult your syllabus.
  • If you have to miss class it is your responsibility to make up the work and to get notes; not the professors.
  • For a planned absence, notify your professor prior to missing the class. In an emergency, notify the professor as soon as possible. Do not notify the main office receptionist, the receptionist does not deliver messages to the faculty. You must contact each professor yourself.