Online Learning Success

Welcome to the Online Learning Success page! Here you’ll find strategies, resources and videos to help you navigate and get the most out of your online courses.

Let's get started!

Before you get started with your online courses, it's worthwhile to take a few moments to consider your study space. Here are some tips to set you up for success!

  1. Find a spot and stick with it
    • Look for a place with minimal distractions to help you stay focused.
    • Do you have enough space for your notes, textbooks and supplies?
    • If you can, designate this space just for studying to help separate student life from your home life.
  2. Assess your technology
    • A desktop or laptop computer is preferred over a mobile device or tablet.
    • Do you have a reliable internet connection?
    • Consider wearing headphones with a microphone to ensure clear communication.
    • Does your computer have a built-in camera? If not, you may need a webcam.
  3. Ergonomics
    • Use a chair that is supportive and comfortable to sit in. Avoid studying in your bed.
    • Reduce neck strain by raising your screen. It can be as simple a placing a few books under your laptop!
    • Pay attention to your posture.
    • Have proper lighting to reduce eye strain. Use natural light where possible to add a desk lamp.
  4. Gather materials and supplies
    • Calendar and/or agenda to organize your schedule.
    • Notebooks, pens, highlighters, sticky notes, etc.
    • Water bottle (stay hydrated!)
  5. Personalize your space
    • Add a plant (it can improve the air quality too!)
    • Use a favourite mug as a pen holder
    • Put up pictures of friends, family, pets or anything that makes you smile.
  6. Set boundaries
    • Let others in your household know when you are 'in class'.
    • Set a start and end time to your school day.


Zoom/Video-Chat Etiquette

As you are getting your space set up, it's also a good idea to be prepared to attend your course. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Use a wired or stable wireless internet connection.
  • Wear a headset so you can hear and be heard clearly when speaking.
  • Be prepared and have your materieals ready just as you would for an in-person course.
  • Join the meeting a few minutes early to ensure your audio/video are working and to avoid disrupting the class.
  • Mute your audio when joining.
  • Consider turning your video off if not needed.
  • If your video is on:
    • Dress appropriately
    • Be aware of your background
  • Make use of the 'raise hand' and other non-verbal feedback functions.
  • Keep chat relevant to the lesson.

For more technical Zoom information, check out the Technology Support tab below.


Related Videos

Setting Up Your Study Space:

Preparing For Your Online Course:

Time management, reducing procrastination and staying motivated are key factors for success but often something we all struggle with at one point or another. Here are some strategies to help you stay on track.


Time Management

Establish a routine for your studies and use calendars as a tool to keep up with your coursework. Identify specific tasks, prioritize and review regularly.

  1. Semester Calendar
    • Prepare at the start of the semester and include key dates and deadlines.
    • Provides ‘big picture’ and helps you to prepare for demanding weeks.
    • For larger projects, such as a Thesis, consider building a GANTT chart to show the whole scope of the program.
    • Place in a location where you can view it regularly.
  2. Weekly Calendar
    • Identifies when you are going to complete specific tasks required for your coursework.
    • Start with set commitments (courses, work, family) before adding projects and tasks.
    • Consider your tasks:
      • When do I need to finish the task by?
      • How much time will it take?
      • Is it a priority?
      • Is it specific, measurable and attainable?
    • Include flex time, personal time, evening cut-off time.
    • Review each week and adjust for next week.
    • PDF icon weekly_calendar.pdf



If we can identify why we procrastinate, we can build tools to defend against it. Here are three common factors that can lead to procrastination and strategies to overcome them.

  1. Environmental distractions
    • Cell phones, social media, web browsing
      • Use ‘do not disturb’ features, screen time limits and productivity apps
      • Put phone/lap top away if not needed
    • Family and friends
      • Set clear boundaries for when you're 'in class'
      • Schedule in free-time with them
    • Workspace
      • Quiet, organized, free from distraction
  2. Physical well-being
    • Stress, illness, fatigue
      • Get enough sleep
      • Eat nutritious food, drink water
      • Exercise regularly, get outside
      • Practice stress management techniques
      • Consider seeking professional support
  3. Psychological well-being
    • Fear of failure or success
      • Start somewhere, anywhere
      • Reduce perfectionism
      • Positive thinking - you can do it!
    • Lack of knowledge
      • Speak with your professor, teaching assistant, classmates, librarian
      • Widen your scope of knowledge
    • Low motivation
      • Prioritize the task you are avoiding
      • Determine your ‘why’ and write it down


Staying Motivated

Get creative about ways to motivate yourself. When motivation isn’t there, just get started anyway.

  • When we don’t have motivation, replace it with discipline
  • Change the way you think about it
  • Beat resistance – start, even for just 15 minutes.
  • Stack new habits onto ones you already have
  • Create accountability by committing to someone else
  • Build in rewards for yourself
  • Accept that hiccups happen and keep moving forward


Time Management Apps

Here are some apps that can help you to stay on track:

  • MyStudyLife, Egenda - schedule/planner
  • Flora, Forest, Focus Booster – encourages focused time
  • Clockify, Rescue Time, Moment – reports how much time is spent on projects, apps and websites
  • Freedom, Offtime, Flipd, Cold Turkey – app and website blockers
  • FocusMate, Social Pomodoro – matches you with an accountability partner


Related Videos

Time Management:

Reducing Procrastination and Building Motivation:

Many of the study skills used for traditional in-person courses can be used effectively for online courses. Two keys to success are to study actively and study often.


Study Actively

Passive learning strategies, such as rereading your text book or notes is not very effective and an inefficient use of time.

Active learning strategies, such as self-testing or teaching someone, engages you in the learning process. It’s a much more effective study strategy and better use of time.

Active Learning Strategy Examples:

  • Review your notes within 24-48 hours
    • Write a summary of the lecture
    • Add diagrams or additional notes
    • Fill in any gaps by checking with your professor, classmates or textbook
  • Do all the practice questions
  • Create flashcards (traditional paper flashcards or apps such as study blue, quizlet)
  • Draw a diagram
  • Create a mind map
  • Teach someone (classmate, family member, your pet!)
  • Create a list, acronym or song
  • Self-test or try to predict test questions
  • Form a study group


Forming an Effective Study Group
  • Gather participants (4-6 for virtual study groups)
  • Decide:
    • How will you meet – Zoom, MS Teams, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts/Duo?
    • How often will you meet?
    • What are the expectations?
  • Use your study group to discuss topics, review course notes, teach each other
  • Create practice questions and a study guide together


Study Often
  • Review your notes weekly to ensure your notes are complete and to begin moving the information from your short-term to long-term memory.
  • Start early and space out your studying
    • Spacing out your study sessions gives your brain time to forget some of the information and then attempt to retrieve it again. Each time you do this, you strengthen your long-term memory!
    • Your brain is much more effective at learning a few concepts at a time.
  • Take a break after 50 minutes.
  • Focus your time on studying what you don’t know, rather than what you already know


Related Videos

Effective Learning Strategies:

An online/take-home exam is just as rigorous as an in-person exam. While you may have your notes and textbook available, studying and careful preparation are still required. Here are some strategies for exam success.

How to Prepare
  • Confirm exam dates, guidelines and requirements

    • Date, time, how long you have to complete the exam

    • If required, contact the Accessible Learning Centre prior to your exam

    • Ensure you have a reliable internet connection

    • Ask if any specific software or internet browser is required

    • What tools are and are not allowed

  • Have your materials organized and ready

    • Create a reference sheet with key concepts, formulas, processes, list of reference pages, etc.

    • Ensure your exam space is free from distraction. Inform others in your household of your exam.


During the Exam
  • Read instructions carefully. For example, can you return to questions?

  • Be aware of the time

  • Answer the questions you know first

  • Aim for concise, well-supported answers

  • If you have time, check your materials to verify accuracy or find additional points

  • Stay on the exam website

  • Immediately inform your professor of any technical issues


Academic Integrity
  • Adhere to academic policy and procedures

  • Be aware of what is permitted and not permitted during the exam

  • Write in your own words, summarize and cite as necessary to avoid plagiarism

  • Do not contact peers or share answers during the exam

  • Do not copy, distribute or share questions

Learn more about academic integrity in the next section!


Related Videos

Preparing For Online Exams:

As a student, you have a responsibility to conduct yourself with academic integrity. This means being honest in your work and responsible in acknowledging the work of others. The University of Lethbridge values the academic integrity of our staff and students and take academic offences seriously.

Examples of academic offences include (but are not limited to):

  1. Cheating
    • Completing an individual assignment with others.
    • Copying someone else’s work or allowing someone to copy from you.
    • Contacting your peers during an exam or sharing answers.
    • Copying, distributing or sharing exam questions with others.
    • Using unauthorized tools or resources during an exam.
  2. Duplication
    • Submitting the same work, such as a paper, in two different classes.
  3. Plagiarism
    • Using the words or ideas of someone else without giving proper credit to the sources used.
    • Submitting a paper written by someone else, whether a from classmate or purchased.
  4. Distributing or receiving confidential academic materials
    • To knowingly to procure, distribute or receive any confidential academic material such as pending examinations or laboratory notebooks.
  5.  Misrepresentation
    • Reporting test results inaccurately.
    • Creating a fake reference to non-existent source.

Please take a moment to review the University of Lethbridge’s policy on academic offences for undergraduate and graduate students. If you have any questions about what constitutes an academic offense or the potential ramifications, consult with your Academic Advisor.


Online Resources:

Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism

Check out this short Moodle course created by University of Lethbridge Library to better understand what plagiarism means and how to avoid it. You will also find information on citing, writing skills and many other resources.

The University of British Columbia – Chapman Learning Commons

Understanding Academic Integrity

Purdue Owl

Plagiarism overview

Should I Cite This?

York University - Student Papers and Academic Research Kit

Academic Integrity - Guide to Academic Papers

University of Calgary

Group Tutorials and Help Centres

The Student Success Centre does offer virtual support for a few group tutorials and help centres

Need accommodations? Connect with the Accessible Learning Centre.

Other Helpful Websites:

Khan Academy - Tutorials in a variety of subjects (I.e. economics, accounting, statistics, art history)

WolframAlpha - Math, formulas, computations

More online resources

Writing Support

The Writing Centre provides individual writing support to all students at the University of Lethbridge. There is no charge and they are happy to assist at all stages of the writing process and levels of proficiency.

Library Resources

The Library is available to help you by chat, email and phone. They have compiled an extensive list of online resources to help you with your courses. 

Online Learning Resources

Connect with your Subject Librarian

Citation Guides

Other Helpful Websites:

Purdue Online Writing Lab

While you are preparing to make the most of your studies, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Here are some resources to support to help you stay well.


Counselling Services

Counselling Services is available by phone or Zoom. To book an appointment, call 403-317-2845 or email

Visit their website to learn about the support groups and other programs they are offering!


Online Resources

TAO (Therapy Assist Online) - Self-help modules and interactive resources. 

7 Cups of Tea University of Lethbridge - Support program that offers free, anonymous and confidential online text chats with peers who are trained listeners. 

Alberta 211 - Helpline (call, text or live chat) and online database of Alberta's community and social services.

Community Resources


25 Ways to Take a Break
  • Go outside, breathe in fresh air and
    soak up some sunshine
  • Call or video-chat with a friend
  • Listen to your favourite song or make a new playlist
  • Take a relaxing bath or a refreshing shower
  • Colour or doodle
  • Play a game (board game, card game, computer game)
  • Take a 20-minute nap
  • Cuddle with your pet or watch cute animal videos
  • Refill your water bottle and eat a healthy snack
  • Go for a walk, run or bike ride
  • Bake cookies or try a new recipe
  • Practice Yoga or deep breathing
  • Play an instrument
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Create a list of what you are grateful for
  • Put on some music and dance
  • Light a candle or diffuse essential oils
  • Try a new workout
  • Lie down and rest your legs up a wall
  • Read something that you enjoy
  • Call your parents
  • Listen to your favourite podcast
  • Clean your space (desk, room)
  • Do a craft or build something
  • Explore a new part of your city