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Tips for success with online learning

Taking a course online, also known as "remote learning," can be challenging. Approach it strategically to learn well and feel positive about the process.

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If you choose to take an eConcordia course (“EC “in the course section column online shows that the course is offered through eConcordIa), you first register for the course. (You can also find the link to add courses on the Student Hub's My CU Account page.) 

As soon as the semester session begins (and also at least 24 hours after you have registered for the course), you will be able to access your online course through eConcordia. To do so, you will first create an account on the eConcordia online portal.

For Moodle-supported courses your professor will usually activate the class website the first day of class if not before. You can access Moodle, Office 365 and Zoom from your mobile device.

Familiarize yourself with your course

1. Explore the course website or Moodle site to understand how it is organized and what to expect

2. Read the course outline carefully:

  • What’s synchronous (live) and what’s asynchronous (not live)?
  • What academic support is there? –office hours and ways to contact Instructor, or TA if there is one
  • What types of assignments are required, when and how often?

3. Contact your instructor if you have any questions; their email should be on the course outline. if it is not, contact the department that administers the course to get the professor’s email.  You can also contact them through the course Moodle.

Manage your time

  • It’s easier to fall behind in an online course than in an in-person course
  • In your schedule, build in the same amount of studying time you would need for a face-to-face course: estimate 8-10 hours per 3 credit course per week: 5 hours for watching /listening to the class and  studying the course content and 5 hours for assignments, quizzes, etc.
  • Make a study schedule based on the course outline
  • Set aside time to go over the lessons and course materials so that you understand and learn the course content.
  • Set aside other time to do assignments, and break assignments down into specific tasks so that they are less overwhelming
  • Keep careful track of due dates. Use the Student Learning Services Semester Planner and update it regularly with changes
  • Give yourself enough time to upload assignments to eConcordia or Moodle well in advance for a deadline—technical glitches can happen with your computer or your network

Study effectively

  • Spread the time to work on each course over several days each week
  • Treat the course like an in-person course: your aim is to learn rather than just complete assignments
  • Work through required readings and video-watching while taking notes either online or on paper
  • After a synchronous class session, make a few notes after to summarize what happened and what you learned.
  • Aim to capture main points in your own words
  • When you work on course assignments, review your notes from class and readings first to remind you of what you’ve learned
  • Avoid multi-tasking as it dilutes attention span and affects your ability to focus


Participation connects you with the course and your classmates, helps you learn better and impacts your grade: professors often grade online activity on what and how you post and when and how often you go online.

Stay connected through synchronous (live) class chat, Zoom polls and breakout rooms, discussion boards and forums. In these situations:

  • Think before you share: work out what you think about ideas before you post
  • Post questions for others/all to consider
  • When joining a discussion thread, rephrase main point in discussion to clarify the context before you start the comment to be clear what you are responding to
  • If you are unsure of communicating on the spot, make some notes in advance about what you could say or write
  • Keep it short and simple to retain people’s attention
  • Respond to every person with respect and be careful not to alienate others with glib, sarcastic or reactive comments
  • As soon as you have questions or don’t understand something, be proactive--contact your professor or TA through the message board or course contact information. If/when you need to, request a time to meet

Videoconferencing etiquette

Ground Rules

  • Practice using Zoom prior to your first meeting. Zoom is very simple, but learning how to use its features beforehand will help ensure you are ready when the class is live.
  • Sign in from the Zoom application using your first and last name as indicated in the Carrefour portal to make it easier for your instructor to take attendance or sort you into Breakout rooms.
  • Avoid multitasking (e.g. checking your emails or looking at your phone) while attending your virtual class. Stay engaged in class activities and turn off any distracting devices.
  • Think of Zoom meetings as face-to-face interactions and conduct yourself as you would if you were sharing a non-virtual classroom with your instructor and peers.
  • Respect the rights of others (both instructors and students) and contribute to an online environment free from bullying and discrimination. All students deserve equal opportunities, communicate, and feel safe articulating individual perspectives or opposing viewpoints.


  • You will be automatically muted when you join the session.
  • Once your instructor calls on you, unmute yourself and speak. Remember to mute your microphone again when you are finished. Background noise is very distracting for everyone in the session.
  • If you wish to speak or ask a question, click the “Raise Hand” button and wait for the instructor to call on you.
  • Avoid talking over or at the same time as other students.


  • Turn on your video when possible. Face-to-face communication fosters a congenial classroom atmosphere.
  • Use a Virtual Background or Zoom’s blur feature to hide any visual distractions or things that you don’t want others to see.
  • If you have limited network bandwidth and you cannot turn on your video, upload a professional picture of yourself to your Zoom account.
  • If you choose to turn off your video, demonstrate your attentiveness by typing questions, comments, or answers in the chat box, or use the non-verbal communication tools in Zoom to provide feedback to your instructor.


  • Stay on topic and avoid wordy sentences or paragraphs.
  • Use the chat box to ask questions or respond to your instructor’s or peers’ questions.
  • Use a clear writing style, grammar, punctuation and spelling, and read your message at least once before you submit it.
  • Avoid using the chat box to have private, side conversations with your peers.

Breakout rooms

  • Before joining a Breakout room, clarify the timing, expected outputs, specific roles assigned to students, and materials needed for the activity with your instructor.
  • Consider turning your video on if it is not already on.
  • Make sure you know how to ask for your instructor’s help while in a Breakout room.
  • Be ready to use Zoom features such as Share Screen, Whiteboard, and Annotations. Follow instructions from your professor in the use of specific features in a Breakout room.
  • Respect etiquette rules and maintain a professional dialogue with your peers.
  • Challenge each other’s ideas (without talking over each other), and engage in stimulating discussions.


  • Use the annotation tools only when requested, and avoid using these tools in a distracting manner.

Maintain momentum and get help when you need it

  • Talk about what you’re learning in the course with friends, family, classmates—this will make it part of your thinking
  • Learn to apply the course theory, not just restate it
  • Do review questions and anything else that will help you apply and reinforce knowledge
  • If you find the content confusing or difficult, find a textbook on the same topic online or through Concordia Library to help guide you through the main concepts
  • Discuss any problems with professor, Teaching Assistant, other classmates, via email, course message board, etc.
  • Come see a Learning Specialist at Student Learning Services to find out creative ways to study the content
  • Explore other Student learning Services resources, such as workshops, math tutoring, writing assistance and study groups for ECON courses  

Contact us

514-848-2424, ext. 3921


Sir George Williams Campus
Room H-745

Loyola Campus
Room AD-103

Office hours

Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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