Online Learning Skills
Tips from Learning Centre Tutors
Explore and use the features available to you in Blackboard. The calendar is quite useful and the My Grades tab links you to your previous assignments so you can study for midterms and finals.
I watch lots of online videos about things I’m having trouble with in class. My favorite sites are Khan Academy and one that my accounting prof put together.
I use a notebook to take notes by hand as I'm reading online. I find I remember things better this way than highlighting online, and then I can review my notes to study.
The best reading tip I learned was pre-reading or skimming the whole chapter first. I find this really helps me to be engaged while I'm reading, especially when I already know it's a short chapter.
I use the tutoring service for all my papers now even though I'm a tutor already. It's so great to have some one else pay so much attention to your writing to get you on the right track.
Schedule time after every lecture or class to review and organize your notes. These small steps will save so much time when you are getting ready for exams, plus the extra review right after sometimes means you have questions to bring to instructor office hours.
I use OERs (Open Educational Resources) for study and review, alongside the textbook from class. I find sometimes it's nice to read about the same information in a different way, and I understand it better.
Both collaborate and zoom allow you to upload a photo that shows up when your video is off.
Online tests can be stressful, especially when they are timed. Set up your workstation with water, snacks, calming music nearby.
Leveling Up Your Online Learning Skills
Like every new learning experience, online learning will likely involve trying out new strategies and practicing those skills to perfection. You likely already know what skills may be stronger and weaker, and probably tend to choose learning activities to complement your abilities. Now is your chance to learn some new strategies that will support online learning.
Communicating with instructors and peers online is a skill. Learn strategies to help you communicate successfully.
Online Discussion: How to Succeed
Discussion posts often become a key area for both learning and assessment. Take some time to boost your skills.
Discussion: Tips for Students
How to craft a discussion board post from the University of Waterloo
Sending Email to Your Instructors
Resource from George Mason University
Student Guidelines for Communicating in Online, Professional Contexts
Excellent resource from the U of Waterloo.
Outline of different communication tools and how they are used from Lethbridge University
Just like different writing skills are needed for different purposes, new reading skills are needed for reading online. Many online courses also rely heavily on reading and writing for learning.
Online reading tips:
- List of quick ideas to improve online reading skills from Lethbridge College
- Strategies for Reading Online
- Skimming or Scanning Online Texts
- Reading Your Textbook
Open textbooks are a great source for a crash-course in reading. They provide extensive explanations as well as activities to practice the skills you are learning. Here are two we recommend:
Taking Notes During Online Lectures
Taking good notes when attending online classes or listening to recorded lectures will help make studying for quizzes and exams more efficient.
Taking Tests and Quizzes Online
Many of the same strategies you have used for your in-person classes work well in online tests, but you may experience types of tests that are less familiar, including timed multiple-choice as well as open-book exams.
- Answering Multiple-Choice Questions - Resource from the Douglas College Learning Centre
- Taking Open Book Exams - Learn strategies from this SFU resource
Learning to take online exams
Writing to Learn
Online courses most often require more written responses to practice and show learning, from discussion posts to essay exams to lab reports to research projects.
Peer tutors help with written assignments for all Douglas College courses at any stage of the writing process.
Need help with your English? Professional English language tutors are available for help with the language skills necessary for college course work.
The Learning Centre also provides handouts with strategies and information to improve your writing, grammar and citation skills.
Understanding Skills Needed for Online Learning
Want more focus on your learning skills? These resources provide overviews to successful online learning. Each one takes a different perspective, but all assume you are looking to invest some time in your learning strategies.
Finding Your Own Resources
Looking for more information? Consider doing your own searches for topics you are interested in learning more about.
Check out the Learning Centre Study Skills Resources.
Search online using the topics listed on this page:
- LinkedIn Learning
- Ted Talks
- Khan Academy
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- Google (include major universities in your search terms to find reputable resources)
ASK A TUTOR
Learning Centre tutors are available to chat at the Learning Centre’s Virtual Front Desk. They can answer questions about resources, help match you with a tutor, help you learn to use Office 365 or Blackboard for your classes.
STUDENTS HELPING STUDENTS
These co-op students are available by email. They help with logins, computer functionality, printing, wireless and connectivity.
Chat with a Librarian. Research librarians know how to find everything.
Meet via Zoom to ask questions about course planning, prerequisites, upgrading options, financial aid, and other on-campus support services
Connect to the virtual Front Desk via Zoom.
Schedule an appointment to speak to a Douglas College Counselor for personal or educational counseling.