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Student Support for Remote Learning

Your guide and resource for everything you need to prepare for and conquer remote learning.

Contacting & Communicating with Your Instructor

Who do students contact if they have questions about or concerns with their course?

Students should contact their instructors regarding any questions or concerns they have about:

  • The course
  • The course content
  • Due dates
  • Attendance and course policies
  • Other matters related to the class

Reach out to your instructor via email — you can find their contact information here.

Remote Learning Strategies

Remote Learning Strategies

  1. Practice with the technology: Gain clarity on the technological expectations for each course by carefully reading communications from your faculty which may include emails, the course moodle site, and updated course expectations in the syllabus. Make a list of these technologies and become familiar with and practice using them.
  2. Communicate regularly with your faculty: Be sure to ask questions and take advantage of opportunities to connect with your faculty through email, office hours, and class. Familiarize yourself with netiquette expectations to maximize positive relationship building between you and your faculty as well as with your peers.
  3. Engage with your classmates: The more you engage in class discussions and seek out opportunities for community with classmates both within and outside the formal structures of the course, you will benefit from an increased sense of ownership of your learning. You will also continue to cultivate critical professional and personal relationships.
  4. Develop a structure for engaging with your classes: You may have more flexibility, but the demands of course work within a remote learning environment can be a challenge. Set aside consistent blocks of time to complete course work and identify a location that will be most conducive for working effectively. Additionally, begin assignments and other course work as soon as possible so that you can surface potential challenges and have plenty of time to seek out clarification and support.
  5. Find times for a digital break: In our new digital learning reality most of us will be spending more time online than ever before. Try to avoid digital overload and spend some time outside, hanging out with people in your household, cooking, gardening, or something else to give yourself a break from the digital.

Source: Amherst College — Student Strategies for Learning Remotely

Adjusting Your Study Habits During COVID-19

Netiquette — Communicating in an Online/Remote Learning Landscape

Core Rules of Netiquette

  • Netiquette, or network etiquette, is concerned with the "proper" way to communicate in an online environment.

Consider the following "rules," adapted from Virginia Shea's The Core Rules of Netiquette, whenever you communicate in the virtual world:

Rule 1: Remember the Human

When communicating electronically, whether through email, instant message, discussion post, text, or some other method, practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Remember, your written words are read by real people, all deserving of respectful communication. Before you press "send" or "submit," ask yourself, "Would I be okay with this if someone else had written it?"

Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life

While it can be argued that standards of behavior may be different in the virtual world, they certainly should not be lower. You should do your best to act within the laws and ethical manners of society whenever you inhabit "cyberspace." Would you behave rudely to someone face-to-face? On most occasions, no. Neither should you behave this way in the virtual world.

Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace

"Netiquette varies from domain to domain." (Shea, 1994) Depending on where you are in the virtual world, the same written communication can be acceptable in one area, where it might be considered inappropriate in another. What you text to a friend may not be appropriate in an email to a classmate or colleague. Can you think of another example?

Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth

Electronic communication takes time: time to read and time in which to respond. Most people today lead busy lives, just like you do, and don't have time to read or respond to frivolous emails or discussion posts. As a virtual world communicator, it is your responsibility to make sure that the time spent reading your words isn't wasted. Make your written communication meaningful and to the point, without extraneous text or superfluous graphics or attachments that may take forever to download.

Rule 5: Make yourself look good online

One of the best things about the virtual world is the lack of judgment associated with your physical appearance, sound of your voice, or the clothes you wear (unless you post a video of yourself singing Karaoke in a clown outfit.) You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing, so keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always check for spelling and grammar errors
  • Know what you're talking about and state it clearly
  • Be pleasant and polite

Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

The Internet offers its users many benefits; one is the ease in which information can be shared or accessed and in fact, this "information sharing" capability is one of the reasons the Internet was founded. So in the spirit of the Internet's "founding fathers," share what you know! When you post a question and receive intelligent answers, share the results with others. Are you an expert at something? Post resources and references about your subject matter. Recently expanded your knowledge about a subject that might be of interest to others? Share that as well.

Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

What is meant by "flaming" and "flame wars?" "Flaming is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion." (Shea, 1994). As an example, think of the kinds of passionate comments you might read on a sports blog. While "flaming" is not necessarily forbidden in virtual communication, "flame wars," when two or three people exchange angry posts between one another, must be controlled or the camaraderie of the group could be compromised. Don't feed the flames; extinguish them by guiding the discussion back to a more productive direction.

Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy

Depending on what you are reading in the virtual world, be it an online class discussion forum, Facebook page, or an email, you may be exposed to some private or personal information that needs to be handled with care. Perhaps someone is sharing some medical news about a loved one or discussing a situation at work. What do you think would happen if this information "got into the wrong hands?" Embarrassment? Hurt feelings? Loss of a job? Just as you expect others to respect your privacy, so should you respect the privacy of others. Be sure to err on the side of caution when deciding to discuss or not to discuss virtual communication.

Rule 9: Don't abuse your power

Just like in face-to-face situations, there are people in cyberspace who have more "power" than others. They have more expertise in technology or they have years of experience in a particular skill or subject matter. Maybe it's you who posesses all of this knowledge and power! Just remember: knowing more than others do or having more power than others may have does not give you the right to take advantage of anyone. Think of Rule 1: Remember the human.

Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes

Not everyone has the same amount of experience working in the virtual world. And not everyone knows the rules of netiquette. At some point, you will see a stupid question, read an unnecessarily long response, or encounter misspelled words; when this happens, practice kindness and forgiveness as you would hope someone would do if you had committed the same offense. If it's a minor "offense," you might want to let it slide. If you feel compelled to respond to a mistake, do so in a private email rather than a public forum.

Adapted from The Core Rules of Netiquette Shea, V. (1994). Core rules of netiquette. Netiquette (Online ed., pp. 32-45). San Francisco: Albion Books.

Source: Colorado State University, adapted from Virginia Shea's The Core Rules of Netiquette

Time Management

What is Academic Integrity?

What is Academic Integrity?

As a student your number one task is to learn new things but just like your professors, you are a member of the university who contributes knowledge and ideas. Academics (like you) build knowledge through rigorous research and expand on the ideas of others. As a university student, you are expected to submit original work and give credit to other peoples' ideas. In short, academic integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. As an academic (yes, even in first year) you are expected to contribute to this research and knowledge building by sharing your own ideas, evaluations and arguments. Your professor isn't looking for you to write the "perfect" paper, they are looking for you to do some original thought. This includes:

  • Creating and expressing your own ideas in course work
  • Acknowledging all sources of information
  • Completing assignments independently or acknowledging collaboration
  • Accurately reporting results when conducting your own research or with respect to labs
  • Honesty during examinations


Tips for avoiding Plagiarism

Tips for Avoiding Plagiarism

  1. Get started early to avoid panic situations which might tempt you to plagiarize. Try the Assignment Calculator to help you manage your research and writing time.
  2. Take careful notes on what you read and where you found the ideas. Use Refworks to keep track of your sources as you go along.
  3. Acknowledge ALL Sources from which you use ideas. This includes books, journal articles, websites, e-mail communication, listserv, film, videos, audio recordings, etc.
  4. Always cite:
  • Direct quotations taken from sources - place quotation marks “” around direct quotes as you write them down, to remember which are direct quotes and which are not
  • Paraphrased ideas and opinions taken from someone else's work.
  • Summaries of ideas taken from someone else's work
  • Factual information, including statistics or other data – with the exception of anything that is considered common knowledge (i.e. well known facts like "British Columbia is a province in Canada").
  • Different disciplines use different style guides, so check with your instructor to make sure you are using the right one.
    • Some of the most common style guides are MLA , APA, and Turabian/Chicago
  1. When reviewing your paper, ask yourself :
  • Is the idea or argument presented mine?
  • Are the words my own?
  • Can my work be clearly distinguished from the work of others?



  • Turn-It-In discourages plagiarism and facilitates rich, meaningful feedback that improves writing skills and promotes critical thinking."
  • Faculty may ask you to turn in work in electronic format, which is then checked against Turn-It-In's database, which contains 130+ million students papers; 823,414 instructors; 19 million students; 13.5+ billion indexed webpages; 90,000 journals, book and periodicals; and 9500 educational institutions.
  • Your work is checked against that database for evidence of plagiarism through an "originality report."

Citing: When and Why

How to Cite

Whenever you use someone else's words or ideas in your paper or presentation, you must indicate that this information is borrowed by citing your source.

This applies to written sources you've used, such as books, articles and web pages, as well as other formats, such as images, sounds, TV/film clips, and DVDs.

Failure to cite such sources may be considered plagiarism and is subject to disciplinary action under the MDC Student Code of Conduct..

Avoid distress and embarrassment by learning exactly what to cite – the who, what, where and when of your source!

Citation Management Tools


  • Refworks is the citation management tool officially supported by UBC Library and is free to use for UBC students, faculty, and alumni.
  • Refworks has an online interface that can be used to collect and organize your citations and a plugin for Microsoft Word that helps you format your citations in any of hundreds of styles and easily integrate the citation into your work.
  • Need help learning how to use Refworks? See the full Refworks guide or attend a Refworks Workshop at UBC Library.


  • Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free open-source tool that aims to help you "collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources."
  • Zotero includes both desktop and browser-based interfaces along with plugins for Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.


  • Mendeley is a free tool with both web-based and desktop components that includes PDF markup and social networking functionalities.
  • Mendeley also includes plugins for Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.


  • EndNote is a popular paid citation management tool.
  • The full version of EndNote costs money, but there is a free, web-based version within the Web of Science database, called My EndNote Web.
    • My EndNote Web has fewer features than EndNote.


  • EasyBib allows you to create bibliographies in a variety of different citation styles, including MLA and APA.
  • Visitors can just type in the item they need to cite, and EasyBib will provide the correct citation for each entry.

Citation Builder

  • Citation Builder allows you to build citations for a variety of information sources in MLA or APA. A free tool from NCSU Libraries.

Getting Started

Understand your Assignment

Your instructor is the ultimate resource for clarification of an assignment, but the resources below are also useful for understanding the requirements of your assignment.
Student with tablet

It's simple but true: one of the keys to producing a successful assignment is making sure that you follow your instructor's directions. If you misread or misunderstand an assignment you will waste a lot of time and effort - and your mistake could have an unfortunate impact on your grade. Here are some guides which will help you determine what you are supposed to do for your assignment:



Thrive — You can do this. You can succeed.