Advice from the Front Lines

Advice from the Front Lines

study desk

As we prepare for another academic year, I've asked our community of online mentors an important question: what is the most important thing you've learned since you began your online learning journey? Their responses are certainly worth a read.

I think the most important thing I have learned since I began my online learning journey is this: Perfectionism is the enemy of progress. When I stopped agonizing over minutiae and accepted that nothing I submitted was ever going to be completely perfect, I started enjoying my studies a lot more. And, interestingly, because I was enjoying my studies more, my work improved on its own and took my grades up with it. - Julia Warrender

Support is essential. Hard work gets you most of the way, but that final stretch comes through support: of your friends, of your family, of your peers.
Studying online requires a substantial amount of focus, and we simply can't reach that level if we have other things on our mind; that's where the support comes in.
So get to it. Hard work, of course, but rely on those around you. You can't do it alone. - Bryan Da Silva

The most important thing that I’ve learned since beginning my online journey is not to compare your progress with others.  The true benefit of online learning is the ability to work at your own pace so don’t be stressed if you see others posting/commenting earlier than you. As long as you are meeting the appropriate deadlines, do not allow yourself to be intimidated by peers who are one module ahead.  We all have different study habits and learning styles, but at the end of the day, learning happens at an individual pace and the online environment caters to our uniqueness. - Mikaila De Sousa 

As I edge closer to finishing my degree, I’ve realized that jumping in with both feet at the beginning of the term sets you up for success. Communication in online courses is a longer process than on campus. Front loading your planning time and looking through all of the assignments and activities for the full term truly helps in making the end of term crunch manageable. Getting a jump on things also makes it easier to connect with other students on the discussion boards and that can really make a difference to your experience. One thing that stands out is just how difficult it can be to ask for help. If the student is new to post secondary education, contacting a TA or professor can be daunting. Even those who have experienced on campus post secondary classes can find asking for help remotely challenging. But remember we’ve all been there. Asking for help shows interest and engagement. Knowing the ropes of who to contact when, what student academic success services can do for you, and how to access resources from the exam bank to database searches, can help with feeling connected and less stressed. Reaching out for help is hard but it’s worth it. This is your university and the staff are here for you. - Aisling Sampson

The most important thing I’ve learned through this online journey is that I can have a busy life with kids, a full-time job and still be able to advance my career. I had a lot of doubt as a teenager about getting a degree and now that I’m 30 and wrapping this up it feels so rewarding that I’ve actually been able to do this. - Mandy Patterson 


Thanks to all our staff and students who contribited to this post - we hope that students can take away some valuable advice!