Get Started With Online Classes

​Your Checklist for Starting Off Successfully

Before the class begins:


Two or three days before the class begins

  1. Log in to eCampus and access your class
  2. Read the syllabus for the class
  3. Know where to go for help
  4. Send your instructor an email to introduce yourself

When the class begins

  1. Check for course announcements
  2. Access your learning materials
  3. Make a to-do list for the first week of the course (based on the syllabus information)

Note: This is a list of suggestions.

We know things can get hectic before classes begin, so don't worry if you're looking at this a few days into the class. You have plenty of time to catch up. If you find yourself in this situation, focus on:

  1. Making a plan for how you will study
  2. Reading the syllabus
  3. Creating a to-do list for the coming week

Before the Class Begins

Make a plan

  • For a 16-week online class, plan to spend between six and nine hours studying for that class each week.
  • For an eight-week online class, plan to spend 12-18 hours studying that class each week.
  • Plan multiple study sessions througouth the week, lasting approximately one or two hours based on when assignments are due.
  • This semester, one of our students, Masen, studied an eight-week PSYC2301 course, this was his study plan:
Masen's example schedule
Morning8 a.m.- 10 a.m.
 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
Afternoon     3 p.m.-5 p.m.2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Evening 6 p.m.-8 p.m.  8 p.m.-10 p.m. 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Notes Discussion board due every week    Assignment deadlines every week

Check that you have the right technology

Suitable devices are:
  • A Windows desktop computer or laptop running Windows 10 or later operating system.
  • An Apple desktop computer or laptop running OS X 10.8 or later operating system.

A Chromebook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer may not be suitable for some activities.

If you intend to use one of these devices, please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop device that uses the Windows or OS X operating system in case you are unable to carry out all activities on your device.

To be able to talk and listen in online discussions, we recommend both a microphone and speakers/headphones. Please note that devices with small screens may make it difficult to view the material in your classes and carry out some activities.

Learn more about recommended technology.

Make sure you understand the differences between a traditional class and an online class

Review our section on the differences between online classes and traditional classes

If this is your first college class, make sure you also understand the difference between high school and college.


A Few Days Before the Start of Class

Log in to eCampus and access your class

Read the syllabus for the class

Read the syllabus carefully — and, by the end, you should have a clear idea of what you need to be doing each week and when assignments are due. If these aspects are not clear, you need to reach out to your instructor.

Know where to go for help

Make a note of the following information in your cell phone or put it on a post-it by your desk:

  1. Instructor email — from the syllabus
  2. IT Service Desk — phone 866-374-7169

Learn more about getting help with technology and find out more about where to go for help.

Send your instructor an email

Introduce yourself and tell your instructor one thing they should know about you in order for you to be successful in this course? Anything you share will be held in strict confidence.

These are two sample emails students have sent their instructors:

Dear Professor,

I am the eldest in a family of four, and I help my mom out a lot with my little brothers. I also work a job at Home Depot to help out, and I struggle sometimes getting to class because I have to work extra-shifts. I’m trying to improve my GPA and trying to fit study around my life. This is my first time taking a fully online class, so I’m a little worried but making it all gel together.

Hi Professor

I don’t have my own laptop, and I have to share the computer and internet with my family. I have my own phone and can use that.

In each of these cases the response from the instructor was something like, “you’ll be fine, let me know if you need help, we’ll try and figure something out!”


When the Class Begins

Check for course announcements

These will be posted by your instructor, and you should them see them when you access your online class via eCampus or in a link on the course navigation menu.

Access your learning materials

In your online class's course navigation menu, look for a link to "Learning Materials" or "Textbooks." If you can't find one, or are unsure of the link, contact your instructor.

Make a to-do list of what you need to do in your first week

  • List what you need to read for each upcoming week
  • List any assignments you need to complete and their deadlines

Finally, remember the three key ingredients to your success are CPR: Communicate, Plan and Read.