Staying on track in your online courses

Canvas is UBC’s new online learning platform. It’s used by professors, TAs and students for communicating and having discussions about topics introduced in class, accessing course material, and even for taking quizzes and exams! There’s also a good chance you’ll take some fully online courses in Canvas while at UBC, which can come with their own set of challenges. So here are some tips for using Canvas to keep on track online.

Write down all of your deadlines — as soon as you get them

As soon as you know when an assignment is due, set up a reminder for yourself so those deadlines don’t sneak up on you. This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget that you have an assignment coming up, especially if you don’t have a professor reminding you in lecture. In Canvas, you can also check your Canvas calendar to see when you have deadlines coming up. You’ll be able to see deadlines for all assignments that your instructor has added to Canvas in one place.

Set aside time each day for online courses

In online courses where you’re not seeing your professor each week in lecture, it can be easy to let your course fall by the wayside. To keep on track, schedule some time each day for working on assignments or studying, even if you don’t have any looming deadlines. Reviewing your readings on Canvas for just five minutes might inspire you to work longer and will help keep you accountable.

Keep an eye out for announcements and emails

Whether or not your course has in-person lectures, there’s a good chance your professor will be contacting you online. Make sure you check your UBC and Canvas inboxes regularly, so you don’t miss any important updates — like a cancelled lecture or changes to the date for your upcoming midterm. Your professor may also post announcements in Canvas. Check the Announcements tab in Canvas regularly to see if anything new has been posted. You can also personalize your notifications in Canvas to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Remember, you can ask questions online!

Even if your professor isn’t lecturing in a classroom, this doesn’t mean you don’t have a professor! There’s still someone on the other side of the screen. If you feel stuck, email your professor or TA and ask for help. If possible, set up a time to visit office hours for some face-to-face assistance. And if your course uses it, check out Discussions in Canvas to see your classmates’ ideas or post your own discussion. Your fellow students are also a great resource when it comes to getting help.


To log in to Canvas, visit If you want more Canvas tips and tricks, like how to personalize your Canvas dashboard, check out the Canvas student blog! With these tips and a little determination, you’ll be using Canvas to optimize your online studies in no time!


–  Mikayla Neufeld, UBC Computer Engineering student