10 Online Classroom Rules For Your Virtual Classroom

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Online Classroom Rules
Online Classroom Rules

Schools around the world are switching to virtual classrooms and so it’s important to establish online classroom rules when teaching online. Although many of the normal classroom rules may apply when teaching online, there are many online classroom rules your students should be aware of. In this post, we have listed 10 essential online classroom rules to make your virtual class successful. Let’s get started.

Online Classroom Rules

1. Be On Time For Class

Online Classroom Rules

One of the most important online classroom rules is to be on time for class. Students may feel a little more relaxed or may sleep in a little later while learning from home, but being late for class can be very disruptive to online classes. Be sure to tell students to be at there desks and logged in 5 minutes before class starts so they are ready to start the class on time.

2. Dress Appropriately

Online Classroom Rules

A virtual classroom is still a classroom and so students, and teachers, should dress just as they would when attending school. Be sure to tell students to dress appropriately and things like pajamas, offensive t-shirts, etc are not allowed in the online classroom.

3. Choose Your Study Space

Online Classroom Rules

The place where students’ desks/laptops should be while learning online is very important. Students should set up their study space in a quite place away from distractions. For example, students should not place their laptop in a place where their parents and other family members may be walking around and talking in the background. This can be very distracting for all students in a virtual classroom.

4. No Eating Or Drinking

Online Classroom Rules

Just like in the normal classroom, eating and drinking should be prohibited in the online classroom. Students may be tempted to roll out of bed and eat their breakfast during class, but this can be very distracting for students. Also students are not going to be able to talk and participate if they’ve got a mouth full of cereal.

5. One At A Time

Online Classroom Rules

An online class can get very noisy, very fast. Especially if teaching kids online. If everyone is talking at once, it is very hard to hear and to be heard by other students. To make sure everyone can participate and be heard, tell students that they should speak one at a time, and if another student is talking, they should listen. If necessary, you can ask students to mute their microphone until it is their time to speak. Alternatively, as a host you may be able to mute participants’ microphones until it’s their turn to speak. If you’re using Zoom, you can find out how to do this here.

6. Be Prepared

Online Classroom Rules

Just like classes in a normal classroom, students need to come prepared for class when learning online. This means being prepared with any textbooks required for class, a pencil and paper for taking notes, and any assignments/homework from previous lessons.

7. No Phones Or Toys During Class

Online Classroom Rules

Students know that the teacher can not see them fully during online class, so they may be tempted to use their phone or play with another toy or gadget off-camera. Be sure to set the online classroom rule that no phones can be used in class or any other toys or devices that may be a distraction.

8. Raise Your Hand

Online Classroom Rules

When teaching in a normal classroom, you probably ask your students to raise their hand when they want to speak, right?. You can make this a rule for your online classroom, too. There are a number of ways you can do this. You can simply ask students to actually raise their hand, but this is a little difficult to see when teaching online, especially if you have many students. If you’re using Zoom, there’s actually a ‘raise your hand’ function. Here is a useful guide on how to do this on Zoom.

9. Respect And Encourage Each Other

Online Classroom Rules

Switching from learning in a classroom to virtual learning can be stressful for students which can have a big impact on motivation. Make it an online classroom rule for students to listen, respect, and encourage other students in the class. For example, if someone has a good answer or idea, students can share a fun emoticon to cheer on their peers.

10. Have Fun

Online Classroom Rules

Teaching online is a fantastic opportunity to play lots of online games that you might not get a chance to play in a normal classroom. Make it an online classroom rule to play and have fun in each class. This is especially important if teaching kids as kids learn best when their having fun. For inspiration for your next online classroom game, check out our posts on Fun Virtual Classroom Games and Fun Online Drawing Games.


Thanks for reading. I hope these online classroom rules help you to create fun and effective virtual classes. Before you go, don’t forget to check out our free English teaching resources, many of which can be used while teaching online, including Activity Videos, PPT Games, PowerPoint Lessons, Online Quizzes, and English Exercises.