Online Learning Resources

Online Learning Tips Academics Self-Care Technology  

Welcome to the Online Learning Resources site! Our goal is to promote holistic student success for online learners.

Click the tiles above to jump to different sections of this page.

If you have questions, you can email the TLC.​​

Online Learning Tips

Are you new to online learning? Aside from reviewing the items below, you can take the Online Student Readiness Self-Assessments for some guidance.

Do you need one-on-one assistance with any of the items listed below? Check out our academic coaching service! You can use Navigate to schedule to meet virtually or in-person with the academic coach for online learners, who can help you develop strong academic and organization skills.

 Schedule time to work on your online class

  • ​Online classes allow you to set your own schedule to an extent. You can schedule time to do coursework around other obligations in your life such as work.
  • Use a calendar, whether it's electronic or on paper, to set aside time specifically for your online class.
  • Schedule an hour or two multiple times during the week to avoid having to finish assignments right before they are due.
  • Pick a time of day when you can focus and think clearly. Some people are more productive in the morning while others work well in the evening.

 Plan to complete assignments at least a day before they're due

  • This gives you some flex time in case you need to ask for help or you get sick.
  • Preview each assignment as soon as possible. This will help you to plan how long it will take.
  • Divide the work into manageable chunks if applicable. You can add the plan for completion of the assignment to your calendar.
  • You may have questions that require you to contact your professor and wait for a response. You'll need to start early to have time for that exchange.
  • Make sure you know the late policy for your class and communicate with your professor as soon as you know you might have a problem.

 Take notes on your online class videos and readings

  • If you're watching a lecture video for an online class, write down or type up the most important information like you would in a physical classroom. Notetaking is a good way to learn and helps make the process more active.
  • If you're reading an article, jot down notes of the key take-aways.
  • Check out our note-taking resources for an idea on how to structure your notes.
  • Have assignment instructions open in front of you so that you can keep in mind what your professor is asking you for. This will provide important tips of areas you should really pay attention to.
  • Most online quizzes are open notes and open book because it's very difficult to expect anything else in an online class unless otherwise noted. Having taken good notes will help you breeze through a quiz. Taking notes on readings will also help you to be more familiar with them, so, if necessary, finding information within those readings will be easier.

 Make sure you understand class policies and procedures

  • These are often located in the syllabus and/or the first module in the Canvas course.
  • ​Determine when you can work with classmates on assigned work. For instance, it is generally considered cheating to work together on an online quiz. Instructors can see when each student took a quiz and what was clicked while taking it.
  • Look for the late work policy. Some instructors take off a certain percentage while others don't accept late work at all.
  • Learn whether quizzes or exams are proctored. Proctored quizzes and exams will record you as you take them, usually to ensure you aren't using notes and other materials.

 Communicate with your professor and seek help when needed

  • Feel free to email your professor when you have questions! They may not know if there's a problem or if students are confused and will appreciate hearing from you.
  • Consider attending Zoom office hours if your professor offers them. This is a great way to connect with your professor, get a quick response to your questions, and potentially hear other students' questions too.
  • Read your email and Canvas announcements for updates and always refer back to the syllabus for course guidance.
  • If you feel that you need a lot of help, ask for resources. See the academics section.
  • Need technical assistance? See the technology section.

 Try to find a quiet workspace & adequate technology

  • Ensure you have access to a reliable computer and internet. Completing an online course on a phone will be very difficult if not impossible. Also, satellite internet in the country might not be fast enough. You might need to find an alternate location for some activities, like a local library.
  • If you need help, contact the IT service desk to see if they have suggestions on obtaining technology.
  • Having a quiet place to work is important so you can focus. If you live with others, try having a conversation about quiet times and ask if you can work without distractions when the door is closed, for instance.

 Note that online courses are all different

  • ​Instructors may organize their Canvas courses differently, and due dates and policies will vary. When you get access to the course, make sure to click everywhere you can to ensure you know how it works and read the syllabus. (Just avoid starting a quiz!)
  • Don't rely solely on the to-do list in Canvas. To see everything for a course, click on the course card and make sure you can see the course modules. If you just use the to-do list, you might miss some of the readings or videos.
  • Instructors might not have due dates on every assignment or they might forget to add the due date. Go to the Assignments tab and see what is there or look in the undated area in the Syllabus tab.
  • Your professor might be working on the course as it is happening. Check in frequently, at least every few days during the semester or every day in the summer, to ensure you aren't missing anything added or any updates from your professors.

 Keep your goals in mind and take care of yourself

  • Remember why you're taking classes. Your goals can help to motivate you.
  • Ask friends and family to support you in your goals and explain what support looks like. It might be helping out with tasks around the house when you're stressed, watching kids, or just giving you quiet space when working on your course. It might also involve respecting the time you've set aside to work on your course, which can be difficult for others if you are at home. Try being up front to let people know you are busy during the times you've scheduled to work on your class. You can try working at a local library or another location if you have a lot of distractions at home.
  • Keep in mind that you are making an investment in your future and that you won't be in school forever!


Tutoring Services

​The Tutoring-Learning Center (TLC) offers a variety of services that can help online students be successful.

Academic Coaching for Success in Online Learning

  • Improve online course organization, note-taking strategies, time management, and more

Course Content Tutoring

  • Understand topics presented in various courses

Reading/Writing Tutoring / Online Writing Lab (OWL)

  • Brainstorm and refine papers, resumes, scholarship applications, personal writing, and more, or send writing to the OWL to receive feedback

Tech Essentials Tutoring

  • Develop computer literacy and become comfortable using UWSP-related technology

Other Resources

CCC Study Spaces on Campus

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

Library Resources


Taking care of one's self is an important part of being a successful student. Here are some tips to take care of yourself while learning online:
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Eat healthy
  • Schedule breaks in your studying time
  • Exercise
  • Keep a journal
  • Plan ahead to avoid stressing at the last minute
  • Create a study space
  • Build a support network
  • Relax and do activities you enjoy

UWSP Resources for Self-Care and Self-Advocacy

For Local Students


Click or tap the name of any topic below to learn more about it.

accesSPoint (Student Information System)

Canvas (Learning Management System) – Check under Student Resources

Email (UWSP Outlook Account)

LinkedIn Learning (Training Videos)

Microsoft 365 & OneDrive (Microsoft Office Suite Online, formerly Office 365)

Navigate (Scheduling and Resource Platform)

Remote Computer Lab – Use UWSP computers and software anywhere

Zoom (Web Conferencing)

Do you need one-on-one assistance to learn how to use any of the above items? Check out the Tech Essentials program.

Are you encountering an error while using any of the above items? If technology is not behaving how you would expect, contact the IT Service Desk.

Frequently Asked Questions

 How can I get textbooks?

​You can have textbooks mailed to you. Please see the University Store and Text Rental page for the most up-to-date information.

 When and how should I contact my professor?

​In an online course, it's helpful to have a good relationship with your professor. Since you can't chat with them before or after a class as you can in-person, you'll likely need to email at some point. Here is some advice on emailing your professor (synthesized from Inside Higher Ed's Re: Your Recent Email to Your Professor).

  • Use a clear subject line, such as "Engl 150 Rhetorical Analysis Essay," vs. a generic subject, such as "Help." It's helpful to put your class in the subject so the instructor can easily tell which class you are in.
  • Begin your email with a greeting such as "Hello Professor Smith," or "Hello Dr. Smith" if you know your professor has a doctorate.
    • Avoid referring to your instructor by their first name unless you've specifically been told to do so.
  • End your email with a signature, such as "Sincerely," "Thanks," or "Best" and your name.
  • Write formally. Ensure correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.
  • Avoid emailing about questions you can answer by looking in the syllabus or rereading the assignment instructions. You can even say, "I looked in the syllabus and don't see this."
  • Some professors feel that students "these days" have a sense of entitlement. Take responsibility when it is warranted; saying something like "I should have done this sooner, and I apologize" can go a long way. 
  • Be a person. Online instructors get a lot of emails. If you have something nice or personal to add, they can really appreciate it. For instance, conversations about pets and kids or comments on current events related to the class can go a long way.

 What should I do if I have questions about my online course?

​If you have a question about the information in your course or about assignments, first contact your professor. Professors often want to be contacted via email, but read the syllabus to see if your professor has other recommendations. Do not feel bad about contacting your professor. See comments above about when and how to email your professor.

If you have a question about Canvas, look under Student Resources on the Canvas Login Page. You can also get one-on-one support through the Tech Essentials program.

If you are having technology problems that aren't specific to Canvas, contact the IT Service Desk.

 What do I do if I have limited internet access?

You should be able to function with DSL (128Kbps) internet or better. Though it will be inconvenient and slow, videos will eventually load. In Zoom meetings, voice and video functionality with low bandwidth will be limited. Skip sharing your video, and join Zoom meetings with audio over the phone. (You will be asked when you join a meeting if you want to use your phone or computer for audio.)

  • Check with your instructor to see if it's possible to complete online tasks in another way.
  • The default setting for Canvas courses allows you to download content in a viewer package. If you are worried about limited bandwidth, you should do this on campus or somewhere with high bandwidth capacity if possible. Then, when working from home, you can setup downloads to run at night.
  • If you have any questions or need help troubleshooting, contact the IT Service Desk.

The best thing you can do is communicate your needs with your instructors and be patient with them as they work to accommodate your needs.

 How can I get Microsoft Office for free?

​Learn how to install Microsoft Office 365 on your computer for free on UWSP's Office 365 & OneDrive page.

 How do I drop a class in accesSPoint?

  1. ​Log into AccessPoint.
  2. Click the Forms tile.
  3. Select the Late Drop (W-Drop) Request.
  4. Select the course you want to drop from the course drop-down menu.
  5. Click the Submit button.

 Do I have to pay for Zoom?

No, as a UWSP student, you already have a Zoom account. To access your account, go to Learn more about Zoom on UWSP's Zoom page.

​​ ​

To Meet with a Tutor:

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