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Top five tips for learning online

September 15, 2020 — 

The Fall Term has begun, and most UM courses are being delivered remotely. Learning online is a new challenge, so we’ve put together some tips to help you thrive.

1. Check your tech

There are some basic things you’ll need to know, and need to have. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the hardware and software requirements of your online courses, how to use your email (check it daily) as well as UM Learn or other required programs. Since you’re taking your classes online, you’ll have to choose a device. Your options range from desktop or laptop computers to even smartphones and tablets for some things. You may choose to do your schoolwork on one or more of these devices—it’s really about finding out which form of hardware best suits both your needs as a student and the requirements of the course. If you find you need to purchase a laptop, be sure to check what you will need first. You’re also going to need sufficient internet, and UM has partnered with Bell MTS to provide students with more affordable access to technology. UM’s IST department is always available to help, reach out if you have questions.

2. Create your study-from-home plan

Taking courses from home may not come naturally! It’s easy to prioritize other things and feel like you have a lot of free time. But, time management is more important than ever! To stay on track, create a plan for yourself. Check out UM’s time management tools, including the 168 hour week plan, and create a weekly schedule for yourself. Build in time for your classes, studying, family time, and anything else you want to prioritize. Look ahead at when assignments are due, and what you’ll need to do to complete each task on time. To plan for each day, ask yourself what you want to accomplish, and set your priorities. Also important is to ensure you have an effective study space. Make sure you’re comfortable with few distractions. Consider an appointment with a study skills tutor.

3. Access information

The UM shares information through two main channels: email and Reviewing your email account every day is critical.  The university knows the kind of information you need, and we communicate that through email.  Often, staff and faculty will direct students with questions back to review email, to find information that has already been sent. Make use of the self-directed resources we have created, and carefully read through webpages.  We have tried to anticipate many questions there are resources available.  Since this is an unfamiliar environment, it may take you a few clicks to find what you are looking for, but as you spend more time on UM website, you’ll become familiar, and finding info will be easier. 

4. Connect with academic resources

The Academic Learning Centre is open remotely, and they can help you find (or become!) a tutor, workshop or group study session to help you be successful in your courses. Their website is full of resources, including tips for academic writing, grammar, citations, time management and more. Academic Integrity is also very important during this time, so check their website for resources to ensure you’re fulfilling your academic obligations. UM Library staff are still delivering research support and resources online. Looking for accessibility accommodations during this time? Student Accessibility Services provides supports for students with disabilities, to help all students thrive.

5. Stay well

It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re spending so much time at home, so remember to prioritize self-care and your wellbeing. Stay in touch with friends and family, eat well and get exercise. Find a student community or volunteer opportunity. Remember, all UM student supports are available remotely, including counselling and other supports.


If there’s one thing we want you to remember during this term, it’s that we’re here for you! The UM staff is ready and available to provide support and answer questions. We’re all more isolated than normal, but you are not alone. And while we recommend you stay home if you can, if you absolutely can’t study at home, or if you have to go to campus for a class or lab, there are study spaces available to you.

Find more remote learning tips here, and all the updates about COVID-19 for students here.

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