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Success Strategies for Online Courses


During COVID-19, Student Learning Commons services continue.
For the complete range, including consultations, support, workshops, handouts, and groups, see SLC services continue online.  


Resources Produced During the COVID-19 Crisis

4-Part Screencast on Success Strategies for Online Courses During COVID-19 (49 minutes total)

Success Strategies for Online Courses During COVID-19: Part 1 - Challenges in this context 

Part 1 of this series, produced in early May, 2020, discusses the multi-layered challenges of trying to learn during a crisis, living in a mostly online environment, and specific challenges of asynchronous courses.  The other parts of the series provide ideas for how to deal with these challenges.

Success Strategies for Online Courses During COVID-19: Part 2 - Time Management

This Part focuses on strategies to manage the lack of structure and tendency to procrastinate in this mostly online, COVID-anxious time.

Success Strategies for Online Courses During COVID-19: Part 3 - Communication

This Part focuses on effective and respectful communication with instructors, while participating in online discussion forums, and while working on online group projects.

Success Strategies for Online Courses During COVID-19:Part 4 - Learning Effectively

This Part addresses how to learn effectively from online lectures, read online sources effectively, and create an optimal study environment given this non-optimal situation.

NOTE:  Students who watch all 4 parts of Success Strategies for Online Courses During COVID-19 can apply for Co-Curricular Record Credit (CCR).

How I Succeeded in Online Courses Webinar (May 22, 2020) - This is a recording - unfortunately started after the first 10 minutes - of 4 students discussing how they did well in their online courses both before and during the COVID crisis, and answering questions.  Topics discussed include time management, self-care, reading, online lectures, course load, and online exams.  After watching this, SFU students can apply for Co-Curricular Record Credit (CCR).

Successful [Online] Exam Writing (July 27, 2020)
This recording covers the top research-supported exam preparation strategies, plus what to expect from online, open-book exams in the current SFU context, and writing strategies for these exams. UPDATED at the end of Summer 2020, based on a survey of the online exam formats that SFU Undergraduates are getting, and their biggest concerns about them. Note:  SFU students can apply for co-curricular record credit after watching this webinar.

Additional SLC Webinar recordings on Writing, Learning and Time Management produced during the COVID-19 Crisis - We are constantly adding new webinar recordings over the Summer 2020 term.  Please check back frequently and, where applicable, access the CCR Reflection Form on the top of that page to claim Co-Curricular Record Credit for watching a webinar recording.

Online/ Take-home/ Open Book exams (University of Toronto)
Some tips produced by University of Toronto, with the COVID-19 situation in mind.  The handout refers to exam accommodations at U of T.  If you need accommodations for online exams at SFU, contact the Centre for Accessible Learning.

General Resources

Study With Me video (Beedie School of Business)
This video takes you through a 2-hour Pomodoro study session with a virtual companion.  Great for those who are motivated by studying with a partner but are now self-isolating.

Distance Education: Strategies for Time Management
Discusses time management challenges and strategies for beginning of the semester and throughout the semester.

Distance Education: Learning and Writing Strategies
Discusses learning styles in distance education, reading, writing for discussion forums, and assignments and tests.

Being an Effective Online Learner (Wilfred Laurier University) - Detailed modules including videos on topics specific to online learning:  Effective Independent Learning; Time Management; Engaging Effectively with the Learning Materials; Studying, Taking Tests, and Learning from Mistakes.

How to Succeed in an Online Course (Carleton University) - A collection of articles, videos and tutorials on relevant academic tasks.

Online Learning (Queen's University) - A comprehensive guide.

Discussion forums and other Writing

Writing Strategies for Online Learners
Discusses effective and appropriate writing for discussion fora and email communication.

Resources on "Netiquette"
Adds to the above handout with tips and links regarding netiquette.

Communicating Online: Netiquette (UBC)
Tips for respectful and productive online communication.

Online group work

Supporting Collaboration (UBC)
Discusses online tools for writing and creating images collaboratively, as well as for sharing resources.