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Online with Ontario Tech

August 5, 2020

I know this probably wasn’t the university experience you had hoped for, and without any pop culture movies romanticizing university online, you might not know what to expect. With a few online courses under my belt, I have accumulated some study tips to help you manage your transition. 

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous


Classes listed as synchronous will provide you with a time and day when your classes will take place. On these set times, you must log on and attend your lecture. Depending on your class size and professor, attendance might be recorded and worth marks- PLEASE do not neglect these easy marks. 



This course style is designed in a way that prioritizes learning at your own pace. This layout will typically include uploaded PowerPoints featuring an audio recording by the professor. This is worth the listen to gage the professor's teaching style and determine how much information they share that is not included on the PowerPoint. I have had professors intentionally limit the information on their slides and expand on points verbally, as a way to ensure that students listen to the lecture. 



Outline your due dates and stay on top of your assignments. If you are being taught in a non-synchronous format, it can be easy to fall behind if due dates are not managed. I use the “stickies” app on my laptop and pin four virtual sticky notes (representative of the four months of the semester) to the upper left-hand corner of my desktop. Once the syllabus is made available I go through each course and plug in my assignment due dates for each month. Once an assignment is complete, I erase it from the note. In doing this, I am reminded of my assignments whenever I open my laptop, thus, making it difficult to fall behind.  



Online learning demands self-discipline. As a first-year student, this can be daunting seeing as you might be unfamiliar with the pace of university-level learning. Establishing structure within your routine will be important in ensuring your academic success. I suggest you get dressed every morning as if you were physically going to school - you can even wear the same outfit twice. I would also urge you to relocate from your bed to a designated space where you work on assignments and attend lectures. This will create separation between work and relaxation. 



Depending on your professor and major, you might find that examinations and assignments are predominately lecture-based. This might mean that your success in the course is not contingent on the purchase of a textbook. Be strategic and wait until after your first class to purchase the textbook. 


Student Life

University friendships will greatly enhance your student experience. However, without physically attending the campus, you might worry that you have been robbed of this element. Keep your eye out for events, clubs, and programs offered at the university online. This will allow you to network with other students and establish friendships. 


Despite what your high school teachers might have told you, your professors want to see you succeed. If you are having difficulty grasping concepts, consider reaching out to your professors or teaching assistants for clarification. Make sure you are putting in the work and taking the time to understand what study strategies best suit you.