Welcome to your virtual classroom: course delivery and information
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.
Even before your first day, you can get a feel for online learning through prep courses 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.
- Take a tech tour of Brightspace, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams
- Learn about remote network access
- Explore accessibility tools designed to support online learning
You may be evaluated in several ways in an online course — assignments, quizzes, group work, proctored exams, etc.
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 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 various problem-based assessments.
- A capstone project challenges you to solve real-life industry problems and allows you 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.
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 others can read.
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.
Your instructor may use an automated proctoring tool called Respondus Monitor for online tests and exams. Respondus prevents students from visiting other websites while the assessment is underway. Some courses may require another proctoring service with an associated fee.
Your instructor will share specific course requirements on or before classes begin.
Tips for learning online
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.
Benefits of online learning
There’s an upside to learning online — actually, there are lots! Countdown to your first day with some of the best.
Seven reasons to get excited about learning online:
- You’re learning a skill by learning online. More than ever, employers are looking for digital literacy when 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 found reaching out and making friends easier.
- 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 learn through trivia, Instagram, or setting up a recording studio in your closet — embrace “outside the box” thinking.