Documentation:Distance Learning Support/Before You Start for Learners

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Here are some useful resources that you should consult before you start a distance learning course.

Financial Assistance and Awards

If you are taking online learning courses as part of your academic program, you may be eligible for government student loans to help pay for educational and living expenses. Depending on your financial need, you may also be eligible for other sources of funding such as grants, bursaries, work study, and/or emergency loans.

Please visit the Finances section on the Student Services website for more information about financial assistance and awards.

Access: CWL, Email, Internet, UBC Card

NOTE: All UBC students are issued a CWL‘s account. Campus-Wide Login (CWL) is UBC custom single sign-on application designed to give you access privileges to many secure applications on campus, using the same login id and password. As campus applications begin the switch to CWL’s authentication service, your CWL account and password will replace the many different ones in use. For technical assistance with your CWL – contact IT Services at 604.822.2008.

UBC IT offers email accounts, Internet access, and web hosting to UBC students, faculty, staff, and the community. For more information, visit the UBC IT website.

The UBCcard is the official University of British Columbia identification card for registered students and may be obtained from the Carding Office located within the UBC Bookstore at 6200 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC. For more information, visit the UBCcard website.

Once you have your UBCcard and a Campus Wide Login (CWL), you will be able to access the Library’s licensed databases, indexes, and e-journals from home using the EZproxy login service. For more information about EZproxy and connecting to library resources from home, visit the UBC Library website.

Academic Support

Check out the UBC Learning Commons for academic support resources. For information about study and time management skills go to the Student Services website.

Also, check out this resource for Online Academic Success Videos from Dartmouth College.

Resources for Learning with Disabilities

Support and assistance is available to students who have a disability or a specific challenge which makes learning more difficult. You will be required to provide suitable medical documentation to support your request for assistance.

Access and Diversity staff may provide the following services:

  • Arranging for adaptation of course materials to meet your needs.
  • Lending specialized equipment.
  • Arranging for suitable accommodation for examinations.
  • Providing student aides.

If you require adaptations to course materials (to accommodate visual impairments or other disabilities) you should contact the Access and Diversity office well in advance of your anticipated start date to discuss your requirements. See the Key Contacts section for contact information for Access and Diversity. Contact their advisors to find out if you are eligible for services.

Access and Diversity provides support and program initiatives designed to remove barriers for students with a disability or ongoing medical condition.

Academic Advising

Faculty and departmental websites are very useful tools when planning your program as they are specifically designed to answer many of the questions prospective students have.

Faculty based, academic advisors are available to distance education students by email. If you are not sure who your academic advisors are, please contact the Learner Support Advisors and they will assist you in locating someone who can answer your questions.

The online course outlines indicate any prerequisites for our courses. If you have doubts as to whether you have fulfilled the course prerequisites, contact the course instructor.

If you are taking courses as an Access Studies student, contact non.degree@ubc.ca with your questions. The Non-Degree Studies office (Enrolment Services) will serve as your academic advisor.

Academic Advisors can help you with:

  • Approval to take an online learning course
  • Program planning and course selection
  • Advising with regard to your course load
  • Increasing your per term credit limit (in certain circumstances) to accommodate extra credits
  • Assessing pre-requisites
  • Approving academic concessions such as late withdrawal from a course

UBC faculties and academic departments are responsible for setting program curriculum and academic credit requirements for all degree-granting programs. Students interested in pursuing the online learning option as a means of meeting some of these requirements are advised to consult their faculty advisors or Non-Degree Studies before choosing their courses.

You should be aware that some faculties have specific guidelines and policies with regard to online learning. Please check with your Faculty for more information. Other faculties have developed online learning courses for which students can obtain credits toward their degree or professional certification. Students in such faculties as Agricultural Sciences, Dentistry, Education, Forestry, Nursing, and Rehab Sciences should consult with a faculty advisor prior to enroling in a distance education course.

Always identify yourself as an online learning student when contacting an advisor by email. Please refer to the list of Academic Advising offices for contact information, or check out the relevant department or faculty website.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don't see my online learning course on my Connect list?

There are a few possible reasons for this. Here’s what to do:

  • Check to make sure your course is an online course. The courses listing on the Student Service Centre should clear this up.
  • Once you are sure the course is online, check to be sure the course is listed on your registration. If it is not there and you know you registered contact Enrolment Services.
  • If all of the above have been checked out and you are still having a problem, it may be technical. Contact the Helpdesk with a description of your problem.

I haven’t received any course materials in the mail yet and it is the second week of class!

You need to order your materials from the Bookstore directly. To find out what you need, check the course catalogue on this site. Click on the link for the textbook order form for your course. It will contain all of the information you need.

I haven’t heard from my instructor yet. What should I do?

Most instructors won’t contact students until after the add/drop period. If you still haven’t heard from your instructor after that, send him or her an email to introduce yourself. Instructors in online courses will typically post their welcome message to all students in the discussions area.

I haven’t heard anything about my online learning course and don’t know where to start. What now?

A welcome message is sent to you from our Course Support Liaison prior to the start of each term. If you did not receive this message, it could be that your email program treated it as spam and moved it to junk. What you may need to do is adjust your email preferences to always allow messages from UBC. Check your junk folder for messages that may have been placed there in error.

Please ensure your email address entry on the Student Service Centre (SSC) is correct as otherwise you might miss important information. Also, make sure that you are actively using the email account you have listed in the SSC.