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Learning Remotely Quick Start
-Do this first

This guide is a checklist to help Purdue students jump-start into remote learning and online completion of Spring 2020 classes. A companion to the Learning Remotely site, which has a broader and more in-depth set of resources, use the Quick Start Guide first. Return to the Learning Remotely site throughout the semester – it is being updated as our move to remote learning evolves.

First, Stay Calm. Get Organized. And Establish a Routine.
Then, Communicate. Use Resources. And Get Help.

Download this Quick Start as PDF

Stay Calm.

  • Adjust your mindset
    • Think of March 23rd as the Monday of a new syllabus week, a kick-off for Part 2 of your courses.
    • Reflect on the strategies and approaches that help you to be successful at the start of any semester. Convert those strategies to working in your new environment.
  • Bookmark the Learning Remotely website.
    • Use it as a reference for the rest of the semester.
    • Get familiar with the Online Learning ToolKit
    • Tip: You may not yet know which content will be useful to you until you complete this Quick Start Guide and get started in your remote courses.
  • Remind yourself that you are not alone.
    • College students and instructors all over the world are embarking on the same journey together.
    • Your Purdue faculty, staff, and peers are here to support you!

Get Organized.

  • Log into Blackboard or Brightspace and find all of your courses.
    • Tip: All of your instructors will be using one of these two learning management systems (LMS) even if they didn’t before the shift to remote learning.
  • Check your email and your course announcements daily. Read them carefully and perhaps more than once.
  • Find and read all of your updated course syllabi (or what some faculty will call completion plans).
  • Write down what you have learned about how your courses are organized for remote learning.
    • Tip: A sample template to get organized is provided here to get you started.
    • Tip: Be sure to consider time zones. All Purdue courses are taught in EDT. You may not be in the same time zone as your instructor.
  • If your course uses other online tools (e.g., WebEx), do a test check to make sure you can access all of these tools in your new learning environment.
  • Decide how you will take notes. Will you use an online tool? Or pen and paper?
  • Participation in an online learning environment is different than classroom participation. Make sure that you clearly understand what each of your professors expects of you. If it is not clear in the revised syllabus, reach out to your professor or TA via email or the course site. Your course may also have a discussion forum in the course site dedicated to these types of questions.

Establish a Daily and Weekly Routine.

  • Schedule times in advance to check your email and log into Brightspace/Blackboard at least once a day, every day!
  • Create a strategy for taking notes and capturing your to-dos and deadlines. Consider putting deadlines for all courses on one calendar (digital or paper) so that nothing is overlooked.
  • Create a weekly schedule that includes specific times dedicated to specific courses and activities. You may find it helpful to use your same class schedule as before March 16, or find a new routine, but it is important to be consistent and intentional in your study and participation.
    • Tip: Face-to-face courses are designed assuming an average student will need to work approximately three hours outside of the class for every one hour in class. A good starting estimate for your online courses is to schedule four hours per week per credit hour in which you are enrolled. This gives you time to adjust to the new learning environment.
    • Tip: Good study habits remain essential whether your courses are face-to-face or online. When doing your work, try to disconnect from other technologies and disruptions to limit distractions. Create a comfortable learning environment, but don’t try to study while in bed or in front of the TV. Did you have a favorite study place on campus? Try to recreate it.
    • Tip: Don’t forget to schedule breaks! Self-care is an important part of being a successful learner.


  • If you have questions about your courses, ask your instructors and TAs via Purdue email or course site. Don’t wait. It is a good practice to put your class name and section number in the subject line of the email to help your professor quickly find the right context for your question.
  • Stay in touch with your academic advisor. Everything has changed, but your advisor is still a great place to start, and Advising is working remotely too.  Let them know how you are doing. You may use BoilerConnect or go to the Academic Advising Remotely web page.
  • Connect with peers! Your usual study groups and your favorite chair at WALC might not be available to you face-to-face right now. But get creative and form some new types of study groups using video chats, group texts, email groups, etc.
    • Tip: Be brave! If you need a study group, then others probably do as well. Reach out to your classmates and suggest some ideas.

Use Resources and Get Help to Help Overcome Challenges.

  • Reflect on your anticipated strengths and challenges as an online learner.
    • Procrastination? Organization Skills?  Motivation? 
  • Use resources to find strategies for your challenges
  • Still feeling unsure? Need expert help? Not finding the answers you need on websites?
    • Consult with professors and TAs about course-specific questions.
    • Talk with your academic advisor about more general academic questions (e.g., add/drop, summer plans, graduation requirements, etc.)
    • Make an appointment at the Academic Success Center (ASC) for an Academic Consultation with a Staff Coach
    • OR need some good advice student to student? Sign up for a time with an ASC trained Peer Success Coach
  • For other questions, call the Purdue COVID-19 Information Center at 765-496-INFO (4636) or toll-free 1-833-571-1043. The responders can help direct you.
  • If you have persistent issues with Blackboard, Brightspace or Internet connection necessary to access the remote format of a course, please inform your professor, undergraduate director, and teaching assistants proactively so that these may be recognized and resolved as early as possible. The Purdue Extension offices and other locations throughout Indiana are offering free Internet hotspots; click here for a current list. In addition, some Internet providers are offering free services during this time, including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum and Altice, as summarized here.

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

contact_supportContact ITaP Tech Support ( 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.