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Online Learning Tips

What to expect from your online course

SAIT is focused on effective student learning and student success. SAIT faculty are working hard to safely engage students in the online environment and to create connections and community within a learning cohort.

First things first

On the first day of classes, you’ll have access to your course through Brightspace (D2L)  — your online classroom. Take an e-stroll around your virtual classrooms and get comfortable with your course components.

Your course delivery may include both synchronous — real-time, live — and asynchronous — recorded, pre-arranged — activities. You will see a schedule of these activities in Brightspace.

Not everyone is studying online in the same location or time zone. Live lectures will be recorded whenever possible and made available to students. If your course requires group work, your instructor will help facilitate group formation to support working effectively across different time zones.

Your instructor will also let you know the best way to reach them “outside of class time” and if they have specific “virtual” office hours.

Starting at SAIT?

Even before your first day, you can get a feel for online learning through prep courses specifically designed for new students. Learn more about discussion boards, online communication, submitting assignments online and more by completing Prep 100 – The SAIT Experience or Prep 145 – Orientation for Apprentices.

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Online learning tools and software

There are lots of tools and tech available for online learning. Your instructors will aim to use common tools/platforms as much as possible for consistency within your program and will address program or course-specific requirements on or before your first day.

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Course assessments

There are several ways you may be evaluated in an online course — assignments, quizzes, group work, proctored exams and more.

At SAIT, we work closely with industry to discover the specific skills they are hiring for and ensure our programs provide opportunities to practice and develop those skills. Many assessments are designed to observe you practicing and applying these skills, and may also include the following:


Project-based learning
  • Project-work - or project-based learning - will require you to complete a task or series of tasks individually or as a group.
  • As you gain new skills, you'll be further tested through a variety of problem-based assessments.
Capstone projects
  • A capstone project challenges students to solve real-life industry problems and is an opportunity to apply your new skills as part of a team.
  • A practicum is structured work experience with an industry partner. It's a great opportunity to demonstrate your skills to a potential employer and start building a network of career contacts. A practicum experience may be paid or unpaid.

Submitting assignments

Often, assignments for online courses will be submitted through the assignment tool in Brightspace. Brightspace supports a variety of file formats — make sure you save your work as a file type that can be read by others.

Taking tests

Quizzes and exams may use multiple-choice, short answer, true/false, matching or a combination of question types. Your instructor will provide more information in advance of the test.

For online tests and exams, your instructor may use an automated proctoring tool called Respondus Monitor. Respondus prevents students from visiting other websites while the assessment is underway. Some courses may require the use of another proctoring service, with an associated fee. Your instructor will share specific course requirements on or before classes begin.

Study smart

Improve your online learning experience

New to online learning at SAIT? Make the most of your time online with these tips and strategies.

Be active in your course

  • Be present. Log in to your classroom every day.
  • Ask questions. Email your instructor, post messages/respond on discussion boards.
  • Watch your word count.
  • Give feedback. Let your instructor know if something is or isn’t working.

Bring your A-game to live lectures

  • Read questions carefully before responding.
  • Share relevant personal experiences. Storytelling is relatable.
  • Be considerate, polite and appropriate. Avoid trying to prove your point of view is the right one.
  • Be respectful. Take care when you post comments.
  • Use people’s names.
  • Type responses into a Word doc first, then copy and paste them into the discussion board. This way you can spellcheck and you won’t lose your response in the system.

Focus on the online upside

There’s an upside to learning online — actually, there are lots! Countdown to your first day with some of the best.

7 reasons to get excited about learning online

  • You’re learning a skill by learning online. More than ever, industry is looking for digital literacy when they’re hiring.  
  • One of the best things about learning online is flexibility. Use your added flexibility to schedule your schoolwork when you’re most productive and turn a break between classes into a relaxing recess.
  • Meeting people may seem tougher online, but some students have actually found it easier to reach out and make friends. 
  • Since you’re learning in your own space, you can customize it to support how you work best. Try adding a few touches that help you feel inspired.
  • This may not be what you had in mind for your first, next or final semester, but your destination is the same. Learning online means not having to postpone or hit pause on your goals.
  • This is a great time to get creative — SAIT instructors are. You may find yourself learning through trivia or Instagram, you may find yourself setting up a recording studio in your closet — embrace “outside the box” thinking.

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