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Learning Remotely Overview

Prepare to learn remotely

Students, starting March 23, all teaching and learning is happening online through the end of spring semester. Your instructors worked over spring break to make changes that allow remote course completion, and will contact you about course-specific alterations.

Read Quick Start First

In the meantime, begin with the newly created Learning Remotely Quick Start. This guide is a checklist to help Purdue students jump-start into remote learning. It also includes hyperlinks to Purdue services being offered remotely, and connects to a lists of free wifi hotspots and Internet resources. There is even a sample schedule that you can use to organize your time.

Please bookmark this Learning Remotely webpage, which curates and prioritizes other resources to help you prepare to continue learning in an online environment. The page is updated frequently and new material will be identified.

1. What can I expect?

  • Starting March 23, all courses will be hosted on either Blackboard or Brightspace learning management systems (LMS). If your course is already in one of these Purdue-supported LMS, you may login as usual. If you haven’t used Blackboard or Brightspace before, your instructor will guide you to the appropriate space.
  • All course elements will be online (discussions, assignments, labs, activities, etc.), housed in your course learning management system (LMS). Watch your Purdue email and announcements in your course LMS for updates from your instructor, and review your LMS early to be sure you can find what you need to complete the course successfully.
  • Check out your new syllabus and schedule...and understand there may be additional changes. Spring 2020 is an unprecedented situation because of COVID-19. We are all planning as much as possible, but some things may change as the situation evolves. Check your course syllabus for new information on the following:
    • How will you communicate in your online course with your instructor and with your classmates? What are your instructor’s expectations regarding course communication?
    • Are there any other tools being used outside of the learning management system (LMS)? If yes, check your access to these tools to ensure you can use them where you are located.
    • How will you complete and submit learning activities (e.g. assignments, quizzes) and how will that work receive feedback and/or be assessed? How have deadlines changed?
    • Asynchronous delivery (not “live”) is being encouraged as much as possible to provide stable content regardless of anyone’s Internet access and speed. Should your instructor decide to use WebEx, a Purdue-supported web-conferencing tool for some elements of the course, you will need to follow the link they provide in order to access each “meeting.” Some instructors may use other methods such as GoogleMeet, Skype, Zoom, etc., but will provide specific instructions to you. Test these methods early and let your instructor know immediately if you have problems.
    • As a Purdue student, you have free access to programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, by installing Office 365 on your personal device.

2. How do I learn online?

  • Learning remotely allows for a bit more flexibility, but requires you to establish your own routine, compared to when your class met face-to-face. Often, you will not need to “attend” during a specific day or time: however, especially if you are new to online learning, we encourage you to schedule time in your weekly calendar to login and work on assignments. Assume that the work will require the same time commitment as it did when you met face-to-face (i.e., 9-12 hours of study time per 3-credit hour course). Be actively involved in all classes and complete all of the assignments on or before the due dates listed. For additional study habits, please view the Online Student Toolkit.
  • Self-directed learning ties closely with online learning. It is important that you take the time to study and learn using strategies that work best for you. You may want to set goals for each day or a to-do list. Even though you are a remote learner, you can still have online study groups with your peers, where you set aside time to email each other, online chat, GroupMe, or just hold each other accountable. If you are someone who may procrastinate, view this helpful guide in Overcoming Procrastination. In addition, checking your understanding is important. This can be done by asking yourself the following questions:
    • What did I learn this week?
    • How do I know what I learned?
    • How can I apply what I learned this week?
    • Is something I learned this week still confusing or unclear? If so, focus on those topics or ask your instructor for clarification or an additional meeting.
  • Online discussions can grow and develop in a matter of minutes or hours, unlike face-to-face discussions during a specific class period. Participating once a week may not be enough for you to get the most out of the conversations. The following tips will help you to make the most of online discussions:
    • Answer the question prompt, but be clear and concise. Use the readings or your personal experiences to back your answers and points-of-view. Drive the conversation forward in a number of different ways:
      • Provide concrete examples, perhaps from your own experience.
      • Describe possible consequences or implications.
      • Challenge something posted in the discussion – perhaps by playing “devil’s advocate.”
      • Pose a clarifying question.
      • Suggest a different perspective or interpretation.
      • Pull in related information from other sources – books, articles, websites, other courses, etc.
    • Make discussion posts CRISP: considerate, reflective, interactive, succinct, and pertinent or purposefully. For additional ideas, see a sample discussion board rubric.
    • Revisit the discussion boards often - some people take 10 minutes a day to login and review the discussion boards, others set aside a chunk of time multiple days of the week. Either way, participating in the discussions through the week can help increase your learning on a topic by answering questions posed to you, engaging with others’ discussions, and seeking clarity from other discussion posts.
  • Take notes while watching all course videos, as if they were live lectures. When reading course materials, annotate what you are learning. Here’s a great article on Best Tips on How to Annotate an Article. The same tips can apply when reading your course textbook.
  • Academic Success Center staff members are available to meet virtually to help as you develop and refine your online learning skills and strategies, including setting up a schedule, note-taking and reading strategies, study skills and more. To learn more, or schedule an appointment, click here.
  • Intellectual property guidelines apply in your online course. It’s easy to copy and paste, but remember that work conducted in a password-protected online educational environment are educational records that are subject to federal privacy protection. Students and instructors own the work they author in these environments, subject only to the university’s right to use those work for educational purposes. This includes, but is not limited to email, papers, reports, presentations, videos, chats, blogs and discussion board posts. Do not copy, reproduce or post to any other outlet (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, or other open media sources) any work of which you are not the sole author or have not obtained the permission of the author(s).
  • The Purdue Honor Pledge that has been a part of your courses (especially at exam time) is still in effect. Academic integrity remains part of Students Right and Responsibilities. Remember: “As a Boilermaker pursuing academic excellence, I pledge to be honest and true in all that I do. Accountable together - We are Purdue.”

3. How do I communicate in online classes?

  • Personal-natured communications. If you run into any issues, communicate early and often with your instructor. This is especially important if you are ill and cannot make course deadlines. Any personal-type questions or concerns must be emailed to your instructor. Include your course title in your email subject line.
  • General course communications. Some courses may have a discussion board dedicated to course-related questions. These discussion boards are a great way to ask or find answers to questions you (or your peers) may have. Check if your course(s) have these types of discussion boards - if not, email your instructor.
  • Netiquette. In online communications (text, email, discussion board posts), tone does not always come across well. Always seek clarification and potential solutions when misunderstandings, disagreements, or problems occur. Do not focus on placing blame. Here are few tips:
    • Seek assignment feedback and strive to understand its constructive value, even if the feedback seems critical.
    • When you are asked to give feedback, do it in a constructive, professional manner.
    • Avoid any statement or action (e.g., verbal statements, emails, online discussions) that might be interpreted as discriminatory, harassing, insensitive, offensive, or disrespectful against any other student, staff, or faculty member.

4. How do I work collaboratively with my peers?

  • The Online Student Toolkit provides an overview of different tools to help you collaborate with your peers in an online environment. Opening lines of communication, early and often, is important. Also:
    • Determine if the communication is via email, video chat, phone, etc.
    • Establish roles for group members in the assignment (e.g., someone is the editor, project manager, or researcher of a certain part of the assignment). One way to do this is by setting up a group contract or team agreement.
    • Set goals in order to meet the deadline.
    • Be accountable for your portion of the assignment and communicate with your members.
    • Indicate to your instructor early-on if there is a group problem. For example, by letting your instructor know a group member is not participating.

5. What accommodations are available?

  • If you are a student registered with the Disability Resource Center (DRC), be sure you have shared your Course Accessibility Letter (CAL) with your instructors electronically, via myPurdue. Stay in touch with your DRC access consultant and your instructors to ensure accommodations are in place within the course’s online environment. The DRC is not able to administer and proctor exams online but will continue to support your instructors and you. See here for the latest update from the DRC.
  • Engage with your instructors prior to taking an exam/quiz in this new environment to assure there is clear understanding of accommodations and how they will be delivered in the online environment. Recognize that, for some instructors, providing accommodations online is all new. Proactive discussion can lead to the best experience for both your instructors and you.
  • The DRC is available to consult with instructors about how to facilitate some of the more unique exam accommodations (ex. auditory format of an exam, use of assistive technology, etc.).
  • If you feel as though you are not receiving your accommodations, please contact your access consultant or email drc@purdue.edu.

6. Is there additional software support?

  • Purdue negotiates the availability of several software packages (e.g., Nvivo, SAS, SPSS (graduate students only) for student installation on personally owned machines through University sponsorship or at a reduced cost. Eligibility for the software depends on requirements outlined within the product's software licensing agreement between vendor and Purdue University. Active student registration with the University is required. For more information, please view Purdue’s OnTheHub website.

7. What additional student support is available?

  • For real-time updates on how campus academic support resources are being delivered remotely -- including the Writing Lab and access to Purdue Libraries -- click here for Available Academic Support.

Most important, if you run into any issues while learning remotely, contact your instructor ASAP. Everyone is adjusting to the new format of remote learning - communicating early and often is vital to your completion of the course.

Continue to check with the Things you need to know about COVID-19 website.

Contact Us

contact_supportFor questions specific to your course, contact your instructor via email. You may reach your advisor through BoilerConnect, or go to the updated Academic Advising Remotely webpage.


contact_supportFor questions about Purdue-supported technologies tied to your course, email innovativelearningteam@purdue.edu.


contact_supportContact ITaP Tech Support (itap@purdue.edu) if you have issues with: Logging in to Blackboard, Brightspace, or WebEx; accessing BoilerKey or email; or to address phishing questions. Tech Support is also still available by phone 765-494-4000.