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Learning Remotely Quick Start
-Do this first

This guide is a checklist to help Purdue students jump-start into online learning. It is a companion to the Learning Remotely website, which offers a broader and more in-depth set of resources. Use the Quick Start Guide first. But visit the Learning Remotely site throughout the semester as it is updated regularly with news and new resources.

Remember: Be prepared. Engage in the course. Communicate with your instructor and fellow students. Stay organized. And Establish a Routine. Take advantage of available Resources.

Be prepared.

  • Adjust your mindset. Whether this is your first semester in an online class or you’re an online learning veteran, it is important to adjust your approach for online learning’s challenges.
  • Identifying strategies that can help you be successful at the start of any semester is a good idea on campus or off. Think about how you may need to adjust your strategies to work effectively in your online courses.
  • 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 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.
    • Online learning is exploding. College students and instructors all over the world are on the same journey.
  • Your Purdue faculty, staff, and peers are here to support you!

Stay Organized.

  • Log into Brightspace, Purdue’s learning management system, and find all of your courses.
    • Tip: Check your schedule in myPurdue if you are unsure what courses you should have in your Brightspace view.
  • Check your email and your course announcements daily. Read them carefully and perhaps more than once.
  • Find and read all of your course syllabi (what some faculty call completion plans).
  • Write down what you have learned about how your courses are organized for remote learning.
    • Tip: A sample template to help you get organized is provided here to get you started.
    • Tip:Be sure to consider time zones. All Purdue courses are taught in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). You may not be in the same time zone as your instructor. Late quiz, exam or homework submissions may not be accepted.
  • If your course uses other online tools (e.g., video conferencing, discussion boards or simulations), do a test check a few days BEFORE you need to use the online tool to make sure you can access it where you’re going to be working.
  • Decide how you will take notes. Will you use an online tool, software on your computer, a tablet or your smartphone, pen and paper, something else? You may find that you need to change your method as you progress in the course.
  • 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 syllabus, reach out to your professor or TA via email or the course website. 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 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. 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 3-4 hours per week per credit hour in which you are enrolled. This gives you time to review Brightspace for announcements or to watch the course videos another time to help retain your new knowledge.
    • Good study habits remain essential whether your courses are face-to-face or online. When doing your work, try to disconnect from potential disruptions, such as your phone, to limit distractions. Create a comfortable learning environment, but don’t try to study while in bed or in front of the TV. Do 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.


  • Be professional and courteous in all communication with instructors, TAs, classmates and staff.
  • If you have questions about your courses, ask your instructors and TAs via Purdue email or the course site. Don’t wait. Send emails from your email and be sure to include your full name. 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. Include links or screenshots if they provide important context.
  • Stay in touch with your academic advisor. Your advisor can share tips and tricks they have learned from other students that may help you. 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 study space 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: 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
  • If you have persistent issues with Brightspace or your internet connection in accessing an online course, please inform your professor, undergraduate director, and teaching assistants proactively so that these can be resolved as early as possible.

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