How It Works

What It Looks Like

All online courses are delivered through the Blackboard Learning System and are made up of a series of modules. The modules each correspond to 1-2 weeks of work to be completed throughout the term, and can consist of a combination of the following:

  • reading materials
  • mini video lectures
  • class discussions
  • group activities
  • individual assignments
  • assessments

You’ll get to choose how to fit the modules into your week, although certain activities and assignments will be scheduled for particular dates and times. Those details will be outlined on the syllabus.

Studying away from campus may seem a bit intimidating, but you aren’t on your own. As an active participant, you’ll enjoy the support and close communication with your classmates and instructor in a virtual small-group setting.

Read more about Blackboard on the Technical Resources page and on the IT website.

What You Need

Technical Requirements

Ensure that you will have regular access to a computer with a reliable internet connection for the full duration of any courses in which you enrol. It does not have to be at home, but you must be able to access your course materials, meet your deadlines, and complete any assessments. For details on system requirements and using mobile devices to access course materials, see Technical Resources.

Time Management

With the convenience of determining your own work schedule comes some additional responsibility. Be prepared to commit the same amount of time to your studies as you would with in-person classes. Consider the number of hours you’ll need to watch video lectures, read through the materials, understand the content, and participate in discussions when you’re building your schedule. Although technical difficulties can arise from time to time, you are still responsible for submitting your work on time, so it’s wise to have a backup plan in case of a glitch (library, friend’s computer, etc.).

Discipline and Independence

You’ll be required to keep track of the discussions, which means logging in frequently and being an active participant. Since you won’t be seeing your teacher face-to-face, you’ll need to know when to ask for help – whether that means reaching out to your peers, your instructor, or one of Trent’s Student Support services.

Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills

Your online studies will consist of a substantial amount of reading and written communication. You’ll need to be able to comprehend all of the core content and instructions. It is important that you are able to express yourself clearly and that you feel comfortable interacting with others in writing. The participation in online discussions can be more time consuming than classroom discussions, in part because it takes longer to type out comments. Participation is a key element of your grade—so there are typically more contributions from your peers to absorb than there would be in a classroom setting.

Getting Started

Current Trent students can select and register for an online course according to the normal five-step process as described on the Academic Advising Course Selection and Registration website. To see which courses are offered online and begin the registration process, simply log into myTrent and select the ‘Register’ tab in the right-hand corner of the portal. Under the ‘Courses’ section you will find the Academic Timetable, where you can browse the list of available courses by entering “Online Courses” into the Location field. Once you’ve selected the courses you want to take, you can register for your online courses under the ‘Registration’ section.   By signing up for an online course, you are bound by the same policies and regulations as any other Trent student. If you are having difficulty with registration, or have any other questions related to course load or your academic record, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Not a registered student? Check out How to Apply for more information on how to become an online learner at Trent.

Your computer will be the key tool you need to participate online. Have a look at the Technical Resources to see what’s involved in getting your system ready to go.

The Student FAQ has more information for you. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for on one of these pages, you can reach our staff at or 705-748-1011 ext. 1025.