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Online Learning

Resources and tips about online learning for students.

Wellness + Safety

Designate a space in your home to do schoolwork

Even working in your pajamas from bed can get a little boring, not to mention it can put a strain on your body. One strategy to consider is designating an area in your home where you can do your schoolwork. This puts a mental separation between “home time” and “school time” and can allow you to focus on your projects and assignments without getting distracted. You may need to create different types of spaces, such as one for writing and reflection and another for studio projects. 

Create a system of organization that works for you

Now, more than ever, you may benefit from a system of organization that helps you sort through the following: 

  • Class days and times 
  • Deadlines
  • To-do’s

If you are using Google Calendar, set reminders for class times and input events or student wellness programming that you are interested in attending. 

Keep in mind that for many people, multi-tasking is not as effective as focusing on one thing at a time. Do not put pressure on yourself to juggle several things at once.  

Think about when and how you are most efficient at doing your work. For example, if you are a morning person, perhaps you can block off time to do your studies or finish off a project after you complete your morning routine. Also remember that everyone learns differently so think about how you learn. If you are a visual learner, maybe you can print out the materials to study. And if you are an auditory learner, remember you can build time into your schedule to replay the course materials. 

Buddy system 

Sometimes it is hard to stay motivated by ourselves. A good idea is to ask a friend, family member, or classmate to help you follow-through on attending courses, finishing projects, or even getting up to stretch once in a while. A group chat with friends/classmates who cheer each other on for accomplishing even simple tasks (i.e. “I woke up and ate breakfast!”) can go a long way to make you feel like you are not alone. Creating a new routine will take time and adjustment; do your best to stick with it because it will become easier with practice! 

Reach out for help 

Make sure you reach out to instructors, friends, and family whenever you need support. It is always better to ask for information and clarification than struggling to understand something yourself. Instructor contact information can be found on course outlines.  Depending on the support you need, here are some additional areas at the university where you can access support:

  • Counselling -
  • Accessibility Services -
  • Writing Centre -
  • Academic Advising -

Keep connection alive

Depending on your instructor, you may have the option of turning your video on or off during classes. Although there are times when it may be necessary to participate without video, seeing others face-to-face can create a stronger sense of community. 

Yes, learning online is draining!

Recognize that you may feel fatigued, experience sore/dry eyes, and generally emotionally exhausted after a day of online learning. Seeing your classmates’ faces can help you maintain connection, but it is also draining because it requires your total concentration. Acknowledge that online learning is increasing your screen time and modify the amount of time you spend on your computer or phone doing non-school activities. 

Remember to blink frequently (keeps the eyes hydrated) and look out into the distance (to refocus your eyes and reduce strain). 

Get up and stretch or move around during class breaks and in between classes. If possible, alternate between sitting and standing when you are online over long stretches of time - this will improve your ergonomics and your energy level.  If you prefer to stay alert with the help of caffeine, make sure to drink plenty of water as well. 

Another reason for “zoom fatigue” is that being online can feel like a performance, with all eyes focused on you when you are speaking.  People can experience performance anxiety.  When possible, prepare what you are going to say ahead of time.  You can write things out in advance and read aloud when it’s time for you to speak.  Another strategy is to pick one person, a friendly face, in the online space to focus on when you are speaking.

Remember that speaking to one person online takes the same skill as speaking to a room of eighteen.  Just pretend you are speaking to one person.

Don't forget to check in with yourself!

Take a moment to regularly check in with yourself to see how you are feeling - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - then incorporate the stress management skills that work best for you. 

Sometimes you may feel guilty for taking a break, for example, watching YouTube or playing video games, when you feel like you should be studying.

However, it’s also important to reward yourself for the hard work you’ve done.

When you are making your schedules, try to build in “rewards”/breaks into your day.  By doing this, you are giving yourself permission to take a break, and giving yourself something to look forward to. 

Say goodnight to your screens before you go to bed 

Experts recommend that we put down our phones and step away from blue-light emitting screens at least 1 hour before we go to bed. The more time you allot without screens before going to sleep, the better your sleep will be. It may be hard to unplug because many of us use social media to connect with friends and family. Start with putting down your phone 15 minutes before going to bed and increase the amount of time each night until you hit 1 hour (if you can make it 2 hours, that would be awesome!). By making incremental changes to your bedtime routine, you will find yourself feeling more refreshed when you wake up in the mornings. 

Go to sleep. Yes, you! 

Everyone knows that sleep is important to health and wellness, but it is often the first thing to be sacrificed during times of stress or unease. As you adjust to online learning, it is important to get enough sleep. Try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night and you will notice a difference in the mornings. 

With courses being moved to online platforms, accommodations remain available and applicable to support your learning experience. In this new virtual environment, there will be some adjustments to how accommodations are implemented, such as sending your Accommodation Notice to you via email, which you can share with your faculty.  Details about this are provided to students and faculty, respectively, by the Accessibility Services office. For further information, or if you have questions, please contact the Accessibility Services office.

What to do if you experience concerning behaviour online:

You have a right to be respected and safe online. If disrespectful or unsafe behaviours are happening in an online forum associated with the University or involve classmates you must interact with online or on campus, you can contact; Program Manager Violence Reduction + Incident Response  or by phone at 604 844 3819. It is important that  you are aware that the Student Code of Conduct  exists for online classrooms as well as in real life. In addition, University policy outlines a Code of Conduct for Appropriate Use of Information Technology Facilities + Services.  In online classrooms it is the role of Faculty to moderate and vet inappropriate comments and advise students to follow “netiquette guidelines.” It is a University responsibility to investigate and respond to violations of those code of conduct guidelines.  

Cyber Abuse harassment, discriminatory statements, bullying and stalking involves unwanted attention in the form of emails, posts or social media messages. This may include repeated intentional and harmful comments posted online or the repeated use of electronic communications to harass or frighten someone. There are some specific steps you can take when addressing these concerns. If you have been the victim of online abuse, it’s important to keep a record of this abusive online behaviour.  Take screenshots of any messages/ texts/ emails/ phone records you receive that are abuse or harassment. Write down the date and time of each incident.  

Online resources you may find helpful:       604-844-3840        520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC