Learning online can be quite different than attending a face-to-face class. The tips and strategies listed here will help you to make the most of your online learning experience while keeping on track with your studies and coursework.

Participate fully

Principles for remote learning

Familiarize yourself with the following online etiquette expectations for students and instructors.


Online learning doesn't mean that you learn alone

Some of the best learning comes from discovering different perspectives your peers have to offer. Class participation may not always count for much towards your grade, but participation and connection will positively impact your grade by keeping you motivated and connected.

Set aside time to interact and make connections with others

There may be times when you are required to log in to your class at a scheduled time (synchronous) and others where you can log in on your own (asynchronous). Participate in online class discussions and speak up in live lectures. Develop relationships with like-minded peers in each of your courses and consider setting up a study group.

Remember the human

Kindness and respect matter in online communication and positively impact the quality of conversations. Be mindful of your tone. When responding to others, critique the ideas and not the person.

Err on the formal side when communicating with your instructor

Address your professor as "Professor [Last Name]" instead of "Hey." Write in complete sentences, and provide your full name and your USask NSID when sending email. Use your campus email account.

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Motivation-building strategies

Strategy #1: Concentrate on your goals.
Always keep in mind your ultimate goal for taking university courses. Use this goal as a motivator to study and as a measuring stick to assess effectiveness of your actions.
Strategy #2: Take regular study breaks.
It's difficult to maintain concentration and properly learn new material when tired or distracted. Re-energize and re-focus by going for a walk outside and get away from your regular study area.
Strategy #3: Accept that you'll have good and bad days.
Life can be unpredictable, and things don't always work out as planned. Accepting the reality that we all have good and bad days will go a long way in keeping a positive perspective and forward momentum.

Anti-procrastination strategies

Strategy #1: Break larger projects into smaller pieces.
Assign mini-deadlines to each smaller step, and work on only one task at a time (single-task). Celebrate your progress as you complete the steps, and you'll be finished your project before you know it.
Strategy #2: Structure your time into short and focused study or work sessions.
Instead of marathon study sessions, break your study time into short bursts of focused study. Try the Pomodoro Method: study for 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. Repeat for four cycles, then rejuvenate by taking a longer break.
Strategy #3: Concentrate on the process and not the outcome.
Direct your attention on the process for how you can achieve a goal. For example, if you have an "outcome" goal of obtaining an 80% on a research paper, focus your efforts on the steps for writing the paper: choosing a topic, doing your research, formulating an argument, creating an outline, drafting, and editing. Work in goals to seek assistance along the way, such as asking a librarian for research help, talking to your professor about your developing argument, and getting some feedback from the writing centre on your first draft.

Study effectively

Take notes.
Note-taking helps you to think actively, focus, and engage with the material you're studying. Have a notebook or a note-taking program accessible during live lectures or lecture recordings, and while reading.
Stop and start video recordings to record key information and find answers to your questions.
Jot down the time in the video when you pause to record notes or ask questions. Expect to spend two hours actively watching recordings for every one hour video.
Space your studying, and test your knowledge.
Research shows that learning and retention happen best when studying is spread over a period of time. Get started early. Solve practice exams, create your own test questions, or create questions with a study group. Self-testing shows what you don't understand and is important practice for studying for exams.
Use your resources and ask for help.
From academic accommodations to academic support, we are here to help you transition to remote learning.

Invest in your health

Take good care of yourself.
Go for regular walks. Make time to eat well, exercise, and socialize. Get adequate sleep. Schedule time in your calendar to do things you enjoy. Celebrate both big and small accomplishments.
Be easy and patient with yourself.
We are dealing with imperfect conditions. We will all experience both unforeseen challenges and discouragement at this time. In times of challenge, don't hesitate to reach out to the many people on campus who are there to help you!

Online exam tips


Assignments and group projects

Whether you're working on research papers, lab reports, or group projects, carefully read your professor's instructions. If you're having difficulty understanding the instructions, don't be shy about asking your professor or TA for clarification.

It's important to note assignment due dates in your calendar. To make the process go more smoothly, list all of the tasks you need to complete (for example, choosing a topic, finding articles, or creating a thesis statement). Then, estimate how long each task will take and note who can help you along the way, such as librarians or writing tutors. Finally, plan to spread the completion of these tasks out over time so that you aren't rushed!

Privacy and copyright

Learn how to better protect your privacy during live online sessions and more about the copyright of your content and coursework.

Privacy during live online classes

In some classes, there may be live (synchronous) sessions where everyone gathers online at the same time. Your instructor may ask that you have your video on during these sessions. Check your syllabus for information about your instructor’s expectations.

How to set up your workspace and technology in ways that help protect your privacy

  • Preview what people will see when you turn on your camera.
  • Use a software-generated background, keeping in mind that this uses more bandwidth.
  • Set up a sheet or screen behind you to block the view of your home environment.

Copyright and class material

Student-created content and coursework

Any video or work created and posted by you as part of your class belongs to you. Your permission is required for your material to be shared or used outside your class. 

Recorded sessions

Some live (synchronous) sessions may be recorded so you and your classmates can view and review in Canvas or Blackboard. This is to ensure that students who aren’t able to join can view at a later time. If you have concerns about this, please contact your instructor. More information about class recordings can be found in the Academic Courses Policy.

Ownership of content posted in your course

Remember that course recordings and other content (including videos) shared in your classes are protected by copyright. Do not download, copy or share without the explicit permission of your instructor or the copyright holder such as another student in your class. See the Academic Courses Policy for more information. 

Ask for help

We are here to help you transition to remote learning.