Online courses are structured to help students succeed.
To help make that happen, the content from the course is broken down into weekly modules. Each module presents new ideas and topics, and it also sets your learning objectives. The learning objectives are the goals you should reach, and your grades each week are based on how well you meet these goals.
In most situations, your assignments will include a detailed list of requirements (sometimes called a grading rubric). A grading rubric explains how your instructor will determine your grade on the assignment. The rubric contains a list of categories relating to the learning objectives, and for each category, your instructor indicates how well you completed the work.
Your instructor will determine whether your work is above expectations, meets expectations, or is below expectations for the learning goals, and he or she will assign you a grade accordingly.
Most modules give you a variety of resources and activities, so that you’re exposed to the new information and skills several different ways within the module. You're also encouraged to make use of the library databases, course textbooks, and other online sites in your exploration of the ideas and skills from each module.
It’s important to understand that your instructor wants you to succeed, and you should not worry about any instructor springing work on you at the last moment. Any work you’re required to do will be posted to the course well in advance of the deadline.
It’s your responsibility to carefully read through all the course materials to make sure you’re aware of the deadlines. This will give you ample time to read the assignment, ask any questions, and complete your work ahead of the due date.