SAS Tips for Online Learning
Although the change to online learning can be a bit overwhelming, you have been an online learner for years! You have been using the internet, computing systems, software and applications to write essays, research information and to learn. Remember that you are already skilled at informal online learning. If you remember this, the step to formal online learning might not seem such a big one after all!
I am registered with Student Accessibility Services. Can I still access accommodations for my class?
Yes! Be sure you have notified your professors of your accommodation requests. You should then be able to access your in-class accommodations. Given the online nature of instruction, note that there may not be student notetakers. Procedures for other accommodations such as Read&Write or Alternate Format remain the same.
I am a student registered with Student Accessibility Services and I am concerned about doing well in online formats. Can I request accessibility-related accommodations?
Yes. If your needs have changed, based on the delivery of your course being moved online, please connect with your SAS Advisor for an accommodation review.
I am a student who usually writes tests and exams with accessibility-related accommodations at the CAT. What are my next steps?
Be sure you have notified your professors of your accommodation requests. You may wish to follow up with your professor to ensure access to certain accommodations, such as an extended time factor for online tests/exams. For your technical accommodations, be sure you have the appropriate and necessary programs downloaded and installed prior to the exam start.
I am concerned that the format of the online exam will be problematic with my accommodations. Is there anything that I can do?
Please connect with your SAS Advisor to discuss your needs.
I did not receive my exam accommodations even though I requested them. What should I do?
Please connect with your SAS Advisor to review your options.
- Notify your professor of your exam accommodations, if applicable. If you have an extended time factor included on your SAS-approved Accommodation Plan, be sure that you have notified your professor(s) of your accommodations through the SAS portal. Following this, send a brief email to your professor(s) to remind them that you are registered with SAS and would like to use your extended time factor for your online exam.
Dear Professor Trent,
I am a student in your ABCD-1001 course and I am registered with SAS. I would like to use my extended time factor of 1.25 for my online exam.
Student (Student number)
- Prepare for the exam in advance. If you have not been advised, ask your professor about the exam format. Take any practice tests that are available. Study course materials – even if the exam is open book. You will have a fixed amount of time to take the exam. This time is for responding, not for learning new material. If the exam is open book, use Post-Its and create a “cheat sheet” for important notes and to mark pages that you might need.
- Prepare your environment. Ensure your computer is fully charged and connected to a reliable source of electricity. Turn on your computer at least half an hour prior to the scheduled start of your exam. Ensure your Wi-Fi is working. If not, connect manually to the router. Be sure the clock is set to the current time. Set up in a quiet location. Try to find a spot where you will not be disturbed by others. Let those who live with you know that you will be writing an online exam. Ensure all notifications (phone, social media, etc.) are turned off. Make sure pets, if applicable, are fed, watered and comfortable. Gather everything that you will need for the exam: If the exam is open book, have your notes and textbooks ready. Have some notepaper and a pen/pencil next to you should you need to make notes or make calculations. For Maths and Sciences, be sure your calculator has new batteries and is working. Have some water and healthy snacks available. Set a reminder before the exam is to begin so you can start on time.
- During the exam:
- Open Blackboard in one browser only.
- Read all instructions before you begin the exam.
- Watch the clock and set an alarm to notify you when you have 10-15 minutes remaining. Budget your time accordingly.
- If, and as you are able, save your responses. This way, should you encounter technical issues, you will have a back-up.
- At no time should you leave the exam or close the browser.
- If you are permitted to use other websites to search information during the exam, use a completely different browser. Too many open browsers and windows will only slow you down.
- Use only the controls within the exam. Do not use your back arrow.
- If the test is closed book, do not cheat. If you may use resources, use only those with which you are familiar. There is no point using your textbook if you are not familiar with it.
- Use a familiar program (such as Word or Google Docs) to record your answers. Then copy and paste your responses into Blackboard.
- If you have any technical issues, connect with your professor and IT immediately. Take a screenshot of your work. Trouble-shoot as you are able.
- Answer all questions. You won’t get any marks for blanks!
- Review your work as you are permitted and able.
- Remember to submit your work!
NOTE: Upon successful submission of your exam, you should receive confirmation on your screen. You may wish to take a photo/screenshot of this confirmation. However, know that should any issues arise, IT will have a record of your time on Blackboard.
- Prepare in advance. Be sure your notes are complete and that you have finished your readings. Connect with your professor or TA if you are unclear about course content.
- As soon as you get your take-home exam, review the questions. Be sure you understand what is being asked. If you need any clarification, email your professor for guidance as soon as possible.
- Set up a work schedule. You likely have several days or more before you need to submit the completed exam. Plan when you will work and then stick to the schedule. You do not have to write the exam in one sitting. In fact, it is often advised to plan several work periods for your take-home exam. Treat the take-home as you would an in-class exam. Don’t be late and don’t miss the times you have set for yourself!
- If you are permitted/required to use different resources, begin by finding appropriate articles/papers/journals.
- Find a quiet place to work that is free from distractions. Turn off notifications on your computer and turn off your phone.
- If your take-home is an essay format, begin jotting down ideas and plan how you will answer the question. Make note of your sources and reference appropriately (e.g., MLA, APA, etc.).
- As you are working, reflect on your progress and adjust your schedule as required.
- When you have finished your exam, review each question and ensure you have answered each part. Each time you verify you have answered a section, use the “strike through” font feature (or change the colour of the font, etc.) in your word processor to indicate you have done so (or use a pen to scratch things out if you have a hard copy of the exam).
- Review and edit, just as you would an assignment.
- Submit the take-home exam as per the instructions provided by your professor. Ensure you have confirmation of your submission.
NOTE: If you are required to upload to Blackboard, you will receive confirmation of your successful submission. If you are sending your take-home to your professor via email, we recommend that you cc: yourself.