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Learning Remotely Overview

Start your journey with the Learning Remotely Quick Start. This guide is a checklist to help Purdue students jump-start into remote learning. Remote Learning means that some or all of your course is conducted online.

Read Quick Start First

Please bookmark this Learning Remotely webpage, which curates and prioritizes other resources to help you prepare to learn in an online environment. The page is updated frequently and new material will be identified as added. Your faculty will share information about their specific course in their syllabus or in Brightspace.

1. What can I expect?

  • Course elements will be online (discussions, assignments, labs, activities, etc.) and will be housed in Brightspace. Check your Purdue email and announcements in your courses for updates from your instructor, and review Brightspace to be sure you can find what you need to complete the course successfully. Here are some videos to help you.
  • Review your syllabus and schedule...and understand there may be changes. Spring 2020 was an unprecedented situation because of COVID-19. We are prepared for Fall 2020. Some things may change as the semester evolves. Check your course syllabus for 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 Brightspace? 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), how will you receive feedback on that work and how will it be assessed?
    • Have any deadlines changed?
    • Asynchronous delivery (not “live”) is encouraged as much as possible to provide stable content regardless of anyone’s internet access and speed. Should your instructor decide to use a web-conferencing tool, such as Purdue-supported WebEx, 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 tools, 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 more flexibility than face-to-face classes, but requires you to establish your own routine. Often, you will not need to “attend” class during a specific day or time; however, especially if you are new to online learning, we encourage you to schedule time to log in and work on assignments. You should check your course announcements more than once a week. Assume that the work will require the same time commitment as if you were meeting face-to-face (i.e., 9-12 hours of study time per 3 credit hour course). Be actively involved in your classes and complete assignments on or before the due dates. For additional advice on good study habits, please view the Online Student Toolkit.
  • Self-directed learning is integral to learning online. It is important that you take the time to study and learn using strategies that work best for you. Be active and stay engaged. You may want to set goals for each day or create a to-do list. Even though you are a remote learner, you can still have online study groups with your peers. Set aside time to email each other, chat or text, if for no other reason than just to hold each other accountable. If you are someone who may procrastinate, view this helpful guide to Overcoming Procrastination. In addition, regularly 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.
  • Online discussions can continue to grow and develop, unlike face-to-face discussions limited by a specific class period. Participating once a week may not be enough to get the most out of the conversations. The following tips will help you to make the most of online discussions:
    • Answer questions promptly, but be clear and concise.
    • Provide concrete examples, for instance from readings or 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 this sample discussion board rubric.
    • Revisit the discussion boards often! Some people take 10 minutes a day to log in and review their course discussion boards, others set aside a chunk of time multiple days of the week. Either way, participating in the discussions through the week can increase what you learn about a topic by answering questions posed to you, engaging in other’s discussions and seeking clarity from other’s 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 covering Best Tips on How to Annotate an Article. The same tips can apply when reading your course textbook. Listen or view your course videos as often as you need to in order to grasp the concepts.
  • 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, go to the Academic Consultations page on the ASC website.
  • 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 subject to federal privacy protection. Students and instructors own the work they author, subject only to the university’s right to use it 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., Facebook, YouTube and other online outlets) 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 governs on-campus courses (especially at exam time) is in effect online as well. Academic integrity is one of Purdue’s Student Rights 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?

  • Communicating about personal issues. If you run into personal issues, such as illness or family emergencies, communicate early and often with your instructor, especially if it means you cannot make course deadlines. Personal questions or concerns must be emailed to your instructor from your @purdue.edu email. Be professional in writing your email and be sure to include your full name and the course title in your email subject line.
  • General course communications. Some courses may have an online 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) have. Check whether your course(s) have these types of discussion boards.
  • Netiquette. In online communications (text, email, chat, discussion board posts), tone does not always come across well because cues like your voice or facial expressions are missing. Always seek clarification and potential solutions when misunderstandings, disagreements, or problems occur. Do not focus on placing blame. Here are few tips:
    • Be open to constructive criticism. Seek 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 discussion posts) that might be interpreted as discriminatory, harassing, insensitive, offensive, or disrespectful toward 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. Communication early and often is important.
  • 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 team members.
  • Let your instructor know early if there is a group problem, for example if 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 share 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 support your instructors and you. Go to the Alternative Delivery of DRC Services to Students and Faculty webpage for the latest updates from the DRC.
  • Engage with your instructors prior to taking a quiz or exam to assure there is clear understanding of the accommodations you need and how they will be delivered in the online environment. Recognize that, for some instructors, providing accommodations online is 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 less routine exam accommodations, such as the auditory format of an exam or use of assistive technology.
  • If you feel as though you are not receiving accommodations you need, please contact your DRC 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, and SPSS for graduate students) that students can install on personally owned computers at no cost or at a reduced cost. Eligibility for the software depends on requirements outlined in the product's software licensing agreement between the vendor and Purdue. But you must at least be an actively registered student to use this software. For more information, please view Purdue’s OnTheHub website.

7. What additional student support is available?

Most important, if you run into any issues while learning remotely, contact your instructor ASAP. In a remote learning environment, staying engaged and communicating early and often is vital to your completion of the course.

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 Brightspace or WebEx; accessing BoilerKey or email; or to address phishing questions. Tech Support is also still available by phone 765-494-4000.