Online Learners

Contact an Assistant

Our assistants provide help with technology (Canvas, Zoom etc.) and academic support over email and in-person at our help desk.

How To Do Well In An Online Course

Follow your instructors direction for contact. Many courses will already have modes of contact listed, a good place to check is the syllabus or Canvas.

If you are starting a new course: Try contacting your instructor in the first two weeks of the course to introduce yourself and ask any questions you have.

If you are continuing an in person course: If you are ill, contact your instructor via the recommended channels as soon as you can. If you are concerned or have questions at the midpoint of your studies this is a good time to contact your instructor for the best course of action and avoid any academic penalties.

Make sure you review your course requirements, whether it is a course that has been moved online, UBC Distance Education course, or a Massive Open Online Course.

Find the requirements in the course syllabus, which may be on your Learning Management System, Canvas, or on the course website.

Many instructors are using Zoom at UBC to connect through audio and video. Read the Student Guide to Zoom and Student Guide to Microsoft Teams for more information.

Set up a study schedule. You'll find some links to practical study tips on this site. See Managing Your Time Resources, below!

Assignments given in the course syllabus or posted on Canvas must be completed in the assigned order and submitted as outlined. Instructors can refuse to grade assignments submitted in a batch. Late, batched assignment submissions too close to the exam date will jeopardize your ability to write the final exam and may result in a failed standing in the course.

Please consult with your instructor if you are having trouble keeping to a schedule with your assignments.

Save copies of assignments you submit on your personal device in a clearly labeled folder, with clear titles.

That way you if an assignment gets lost or damaged en route, you can re-submit it. You should allow at least two weeks for assignments to be received, graded and returned to you.

Part of your responsibility as a student is acknowledging the work of others as you learn from them.

Learn about academic integrity and what you can do to stay clear of problems with plagiarism. Be aware of UBC's policies and stay on top of this.

Learn about copyright. Check out common student questions about copyright.

Learn about what students are doing to support open learning.

Test Yourself

Try self-enrolling in our practice Canvas exam. Explore different exam types: using lockdown browser, webwork, proctored exams and more.

Check out our guide for Online Exams! It has handouts and guides for different exam formats, troubleshooting and prep tips.

Your exam schedule will be made available to you via the Student Service Centre (SSC). Learn more about off campus exams here here.

You can review exam requirements for general distance education here.

All assignments must be completed and submitted before you take the examination.

Use the Library

First, you’ll need to get a UBCcard. Learn about Library services available to you in this Library Guide for Distance Education Students.

Obtain your UBC Card (if you don't have one)
Register for services online or in-person.
Access Library Resources Online
As a UBC student, you have full access to the wide range of print and electronic collections through the Library from home, as well as in person. To get instant access to online journals, indexes & databases, and other Library licensed resources from off-campus locations you can use Connect to Library Resources
Click for help with Library resources login.
You will need: Your Campus-Wide Login (CWL) OR your UBC card's barcode and PIN. Don't know or forgot your pin number? You can request a new PIN at Forgot Your PIN?
Need More Help?
Refer to the UBC Library's Guide for Distance Students for information about online services for research and interlibrary loans.

Start your research by using the Library’s search tool: Summon. Summon is a one-stop search tool that allows you to search for print and e-books, journal articles, statistical data, government documents, theses/dissertations and much more all at once. For more information on searching, how to narrow down topics, and more check out the Library Skills Tutorials.

Library Help

Every branch of the Library has staff members who can help you find what you need.

Can’t find an article for your term paper? Don’t hesitate to ask a Librarian using Askway for assistance via email, online chat, or by phone. The online chat is available day, evenings, and weekends during regular school terms.

Writing Help


Connect with a UBC Writing Consultant [*All Writing Consultations are currently available for booking online.]
The Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication supports a diverse community of writers at UBC, at various levels of proficiency, across many types of undergraduate and graduate writing situations: academic, creative, professional, and technical. Book a one-on-one appointment with a peer writing consultant to support your writing projects.

Write Away

Connect with a Tutor
WriteAway is a groundbreaking eTutoring service that provides free online writing assistance by connecting learners seamlessly to a network of tutors and resources.   WriteAway, BC’s first eService for collaborative online tutoring, was developed in cooperation with BCcampus, the BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN), and Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.
For more information about tutoring services at UBC, check out the Tutoring, Coaching, and Writing page!

The library also has tailor-made research guides designed to help you find the best sources for your research. You can find a guide for every discipline taught at UBC from Art to Zoology.

Accessing the Library is made easy with the Distance Education Students' Guide Find out how to borrow books, access journals from home and borrow from other Libraries.

Transitioning to Learning Online

The resources below will help you navigate the transition to online learning, including maintaining your wellbeing.

Download this PDF for advice from Chapman Learning Commons Assistants about preparing and setting up a faster and safer device to use while learning online, accessing online resources, and using learning technologies.

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You can also watch the video version below, and on our YouTube!

Download this PDF to learn about how to cultivate focus when learning online.

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Download this PDF for advice from CLC Assistants about balancing learning and living at home, when you are working and studying off campus.

Download PDF

UBC Wellness Centre: Online: While the physical Wellness Centre is temporarily closed, Wellness Centre: Online is a Canvas space for engaging in topics relevant to your wellbeing, wherever you are. All UBC students can self enroll. Learn more at their website.

Things to Do For Free From Home: Our CLC Assistant Minori has compiled a list of resources and activities to do from home!

If you have concerns about maintaining your wellbeing while learning remotely, your instructor could help you to find the resources you need. Many courses will already have modes of contact listed for campus health and wellbeing resources. Check your syllabus or Canvas.

Communicating and Collaborating Online

Communicating with others can be challenging when you can’t speak face-to-face. Below are some resources for communicating and collaborating effectively online.

This handy CLC Learning Skills Workshop on Online Communication Skills: Key Advice and Resource Handout has best practices and tips for communicating online effectively.

Download PDF

Many instructors are using Zoom at UBC to connect through audio and video. Read the Student Guide to Zoom and Student Guide to Microsoft Teams for more information.


Communicating Online [Audio clip] Part 1 & Part 2: Listen to a few CLC Assistants’ tips for communicating with others online.


Contacting instructors [Audio clip]: Check out one student's advice for best practices when contacting instructors.


Tips for effective discussions: Check out this instructor-facing resource on creating engaging, beneficial online discussions. Consider as a student, how can you help create and support an engaging discussion environment online?

Sometimes you will be asked to create multimedia projects as part of your course work. These resources and software are all free for UBC Students.

UBC IT Software: As a student at UBC you automatically receive access to software like Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 10.

UBC Student Software: Snagit & Camtasia  Snagit is a powerful screen capture tool that allows you to easily capture, modify and share screenshots and basic video. Camtasia complements the functionality of Snagit and includes comprehensive video and audio recording of your screen. 

Recording 101 We have an online toolkit to help even the greenest of beginners, including recommendations for software you can access at home.

DIY Media:This resource walks you through each step in the multimedia creation process.

More Resources?: Find tons of free software recommendations at UBC Sauder Library David Lam Research Guide, look at the Accessing Digital Media Lab Resources section.

Keep cyber-safe: Protect your information online by following the 5 ways to keep cybersafe from UBC’s Privacy Matters website and using antivirus software.

Download PDF

Canvas Student Guide: Check out this comprehensive student guide to Canvas.

Using Student Groups in Canvas: In Canvas, self-organized student groups can be created by students. You can use this feature to create study groups to collaborate on projects and discuss topics. Learn more in the People and Groups section of the student guide »

Zoom Student Guide: Zoom is a popular video/audio conferencing software, often used for meetings, tutorials, and group work. Review this guide to learn how to make the most of your Zoom experience!

Microsoft Teams: Chat with friends, set-up meetings, and work on assignments together using MS Teams.

Microsoft OneDrive: OneDrive is the new file sharing service that offers 1TB of free space and keeps your files secure.

Engaging in Remote Collaboration Using Social Media for Learning: Check out this a student guide on collaborating remotely using social media! 

Online Group Presentations: The CLC Learning Skills Workshop on Group Presentations Online: Key Advice and Resource Handout details top tips and resources for delivering an online presentation.

Download PDF

Adjusting to a Remote Workspace

Our environment is very influential to how we work, learn, and live. It’s important to organize your space in such a way that promotes a positive and productive workflow. Read below for some tips:

Getting Organized [Audio clip]:Here is some advice for organizing your space.

Online Working Environment [Audio clip]:Adjusting to an online working environment.

Setting up a Study Environment at Home (Minnesota State):How should you set up your study environment?

Tips for Working from Home: This guide has a number of tips for adjusting to, and maximizing your productivity and ease, when working from home. 

Get Active At Home: UBC Recreation offers ways to thrive from the comfort of your own space! 

Ergonomics: UBC HR has created a resource with advice for maintaining good ergonomics (posture) in your home workspace.

Download PDF

Related Links

Some great resources to help you plan, learn and grow in your online class!

Time management begins to take on a somewhat mythical quality with learners at university. There never seems to be enough time and what there is seems to become unmanageable quickly! Following are some resources which may serve as useful reminders about planning and managing your life so that you have some time to enjoy:

Download PDF

Prepping Resources: These toolkits will help you wrap your head around some of the most difficult parts of online courses, and give you tips to work better.

Download PDF

Coaching/Tutoring Links and Help: Many of these resources are available remotely

These resources will help you to learn more and get the most out of your online experience.

  • Open UBC Check out free and openly available resources
  • Refworks Use this guide to format your citations
  • Understanding Academic Integrity Learn more about what your role is as a student for academic freedom and sharing
  • Tech Help Reach out or find the answers to your tech questions
  • New to UBC  If you are new to UBC this give you what you need-to-know, quickly!
  • Keep Teaching (UBC)A dedicated resource for instructors and faculty who must transition rapidly to teaching online

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