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DON'T PANIC. Don't create panic in the virtual classroom. Consider the possible impact of your message. Just as you would never think to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded auditorium, you shouldn't sound an alarm to classmates unless it's absolutely necessary. Be sure to wait at least 24 hours for replies to your questions or pleas for help. If after 24 hours you still haven't heard from anyone, send a message to the instructor with "URGENT: HELP" in the subject line. (The instructor for an online class receives hundreds of messages a day; he might have missed your first message. He/she logs on at least twice a day Monday through Friday, and at least once a day on the weekends and holidays. You will receive a response within 24-48 hours.) Panic usually occurs when a student waits until the last minute to complete an assignment. Under stress, he forgets important details and panic sets in. To avoid panic, complete work ahead of time. If you run into problems, you'll have time to calmly review directions and announcements to solve the problem on your own.