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First-Year Engineering Remote Learning Toolkit

The recently developed First-Year Engineering Office (FYEO) Toolkit is a snapshot of fundamental tools to help you adjust to your new online learning environment. In our current state of affairs, life is more stressful than ever. It’s important to know that you are not alone. Through the FYEO and university-wide supports, you’ll find an abundance of available resources, most of which are outlined in our toolkit.

If you are struggling with online group projects, trying to figure out how to stay healthy while attending six hours of back-to-back lectures, unsure of procedures and/or facing other challenges, click on the drop-downs below to uncover the First-Year Engineering Offices tools for transition and success.

You have a wealth of resources online like Linkedin Learning, Microsoft Office 365, Google Suite, and D2L, to help you stay engaged and participate in course material. It’s important to understand their functions and how to use them.

Linkedin Learning


Did you know that Ryerson students get a free LinkedIn Learning account? LinkedIn Learning is a database of online courses taught by industry professionals. It’s great for developing new skills.  Check out the LinkedIn Learning webpage to learn how to access your account, opens in new window.

G Suite


You have access to Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Chat, and more. You’ll be using these features throughout your time at Ryerson, so make sure you understand them. Learn how to use G Suite at Ryerson University, opens in new window

Microsoft Office 365


Ryerson students have free access to Microsoft Office 365. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. To access it, install Office Pro Plus and sign in to with your my.ryerson email, opens in new window.



There are a few ways to join a Zoom meeting. You can click on the Zoom link or invitation provided by your instructor, enter the meeting ID or personal link name on the “Join a Meeting” external webpage. You can also  join via a mobile device, or dial-in using the phone numbers provided in the Zoom invitation.

Even though we’re all stuck behind a computer, tablet or phone doesn’t mean we can’t connect with each other. In fact, without technology, we wouldn’t be able to connect at all this year. Zoom, Google and apps like WeChat, Instagram, and WhatsApp, to name a few, make it easy for us to chat, reach out to friends, and attend classes and events. Find below our tips for connecting with others while learning online.

Group Chats


Want to be in a group chat with other first-year students? Reach out to a First Year Ambassador to be added to one! They are upper year students dedicated to helping your transition into university. The list of First Year Ambassador's, opens in new window is on the First-Year Eng website.



It’s never too early to get involved, and you get to meet students who share the same interests. Some student groups even have positions dedicated to first year student representatives! Check out a list of the extracurriculars Ryerson Engineering has to offer, external link.

Reach Out


Most of your professors love meeting and getting to know their students, so take the time to introduce yourself during their office hours. You can ask questions regarding the course, assignments, exams, their research or ask for advice.



Ryerson, the FYEO and student clubs run A LOT of events for students and some for first year students only. Follow @firstyeareng, external link, opens in new window on Instagram and join the Ryerson First-Year Facebook Group, external link, opens in new window to stay in the loop with events going on. Also stay up to date on Ryerson wide events on the Ryerson Today webpage, opens in new window

Virtual Advising Room


Have a question but not sure where to start or what Department to reach out to? Start with the FYEO Drop-in Zoom Virtual Advising Room, external link, opens in new window (VAR). Student Advisors are available Monday to Friday from 10 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 3 pm.

Group projects are a great way to practice your interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills. Although COVID-19 is making group work that much more difficult, it is not impossible. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your group assignments.

Say Hi


Take the first few minutes at the start of your meetings to get to know each other. What are their names, program of study? Set up a group chat. Take the time to build relationships by asking questions like what shows are you watching? Do you have any hobbies?

Social Media


Ask if everyone is comfortable using Social Media as another way to connect. If so, you can collaborate through new mediums. Include Ryerson Engineering in your bio. Your partners will be able to find you this way.



Do you have a full time course load? Part time job? In a different time zone? Are midterms coming up? Understanding these factors helps the team determine deadlines and when to collaborate. It will keep members on the same page and enhance organization.

Stay in Touch


If you really enjoyed working with your group members, make sure you connect with them online and stay in touch in ways that feel comfortable to you. You might see them in your other classes and be partnered up again.

Ground Rules


Mutually agree on ground rules regarding group work, communication, and meetings. How often will you meet, and for how long? Best method of communication, email, phone, GoogleChat? What project components require entire group approval? What happens if people don’t respect the group code of conduct? Questions like these will clarify group dynamics and improve accountability.

Ryerson is here to help you succeed with a magnitude of learning support offered by the Student Learning Support, opens in new window (SLS), Academic Accommodations Support, opens in new window (AAS) and the First-Year Engineering Office.

Academic Accommodations


Do you require Academic Accommodations for a temporary and/or permanent disability? You can register for academic accommodations with Academic Accommodation Services, opens in new window.

Student Learning Groups


Student Learning Supports offers discussion-based Student Learning Groups (SLGs) for general first-year engineering courses. google docCheck out the Student Learning Groups Fall 2020 schedule, external link.

Math Tutoring


Looking for extra support in math? Student Learning Supports offers one-on-one Math tutoring. Check out the google docFall 2020 math tutoring schedule and available tutors., external link, opens in new window

Study Halls


The First-Year Engineering Office plans Study Halls and google slideStudy Groups, external link, opens in new window every term. They are a great place to meet your peers. The usual material covered is test examples, marking schemes, and common mistakes.

Review Student Learning Support online resources, opens in new window to take charge of your online learning.

Several myths surround open book exams like "I don’t need to study," "they’re easier," "there will be time to look things up," and "I can use resources at home to help." Wrong. Open book exams test your ability to apply course material and are often more challenging than closed-book exams. The instructor knows you have your notes in front of you and expect higher quality answers. They are unlikely to ask you questions that can be copied directly from your text. Expect big picture questions that ask you to use your critical thinking skills. You need to apply, analyze, synthesize, compare and contrast or evaluate information. Test times are usually shorter. Looking through multiple resources to answer questions will leave you without enough time to finish your exam. 

Want to know more about open book exam myths? Check out the PDF fileStudent Learning Support’s Open Book Exam’s Myth Busters, opens in new window.

Avoid Academic Misconduct


Review PDF filePolicy 60: Academic Integrity, opens in new window and the academic misconduct FAQ, opens in new window. Academic misconduct is a serious matter and can result in a failed grade or dismissal from the University.



Create your own study notes by using charts, graphic organizers, concept maps or reference guides to organize main topics, themes and information. 

Know the System


Ask questions like what is covered? What is the grading scheme? What tools are allowed? Check the course outline, lecture slides, course material and announcements on D2L for information concerning exams and assignments.

Want to know more about how to prepare for open book tests? Check out the PDF fileStudent Learning Support’s Strategies for Open Book Exams, opens in new window.

Location, Location, Location


Choose your exam location carefully to avoid interruptions and distractions. Let those around you know that you will be writing an exam and need to concentrate.



What went well? What didn’t? How can you set yourself up for success next time? Review your exam or assignment after it's been marked for comments. 

The Academic Integrity Office, opens in new window has developed a new way to promote Academic Integrity and Policy 60 education through game play with the new resource: Academic Integrity in Space, opens in new window.

In this game, students go head-to-head with Captain Plague and the League of the Unearned to learn about academic integrity and to earn certificates from the planets Ethica, Originon, and Independus. The game covers a variety of topics including academic integrity, plagiarism, cheating on tests and exams, unauthorized collaboration, and institutional support services.

Online etiquette holds significant weight in your new online learning environment. It’s essential to understand what respectful and inclusive online conduct is. While we understand that everyone is adjusting to online learning it is important to know and adhere to Ryeron's expectations for acceptable online behaviour.

Online conduct falls under Policy 61: Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct, opens in new window and Ryerson’s Human Rights Services, opens in new window. We ask that students help create a safe and inclusive environment for all students and act in a manner consistent with generally accepted standards of behaviour.

Please review the Ryerson Student Code of Conduct, opens in new window for more information.

Online Conduct


Get familiar with Zoom controls and test your microphone and camera. Avoid doing other tasks to stay engaged and make sure no personal information is visible in your background. Remember to mute your microphone and use the “Raise Hand” feature to ask a question.

As the University transitions to an all online delivery model for the Fall/Winter 2020 - 2021 year, exams and tests are starting to look a little different. Gone are the days of big auditoriums, scantrons, and small B12 pencils. Below are tips on how to successfully complete online exams

Read the instructions


Instructions differ across exams. Ensure you’re following the correct format for your final submission by reading the instructions to prevent any marking mishaps.

Number your Pages


It keeps you organized and makes scanning in the correct order easy. For long answer questions, it helps the marker know where the rest of the content is. Don’t miss out on marks.

Timing is Everything


You have a set amount of time to write. If you have to upload your exam you are given extra time to scan and upload. Do not use your upload time for writing. You risk submitting nothing.

Use a Pen


There is a chance your writing will not show up on a scan and your answers will not be seen. Use a dark pen and make sure to put enough pressure on the paper for your answers to be marked.



Check out the app store for apps that can scan your documents and convert them to PDF. Adobe Scan, Genius Scan, and Apple’s Notes app can scan your documents effectively.

Let Us Know


Technology isn’t always dependable. If run into issues email your Professor and GA immediately. Include your student ID and an explanation of what happened.

The Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) is an excellent resource for all things learning and teaching. On their Continuity of Learning webpage, opens in new window you can find information on preparing for classes, D2L Brightspace, G Suite, final exams and assessments and how to complete a quiz or exam with Respondus. They also have a D2L Brightspace Sample Course where you can practice D2L quizzes or assignments, opens in new window.

As we find ourselves working in a new online learning environment it’s important to evaluate your current situation and decide what works and what doesn’t for your studying. It’s not always possible but it does help to have an effective study space with enough lighting and limited distractions. Keeping your space clean can clear your mind and open up time for reflection to assess your online needs and prompt adaptability to your new environment. Below are tips to help you get the most out of your study time.

A Clean Study Space


Take 5 - 10 minutes to clear clutter and remove distractions.


Set Boundaries


Create a routine and set boundaries, physical and mental, between your study time and your down time.

Test Yourself


Create practice questions on Quizlet or study with friends to test yourself on course material.

Adequate Lighting


When you’re creating your study environment, pay attention to where you place and position the light.



Consider what your online strengths and needs are, and give yourself time to adapt and adjust your approach.

Want more ideas about how to study effectively and learn remotely? Check out PDF fileRyerson Student Learning Support’s Online Learning Checklist, opens in new window.

Limit Distractions


Time out phone use or turn it off. Disable Wi-Fi, just make sure to download your study materials beforehand. 



Connect with others online, ask questions and discuss topics with your peers, TAs, and instructors.

Live Lectures


Avoid falling behind by attending lectures. You'll have more time to spend on studying.

Staying organized not only helps with your studies but it is an important skill to have and speak to when applying for your first job. Start building your organizational skills now and prepare for your future.



Make a list of all your upcoming due dates for assignments, tests and exams. Use a four month calendar so you can see your entire semester at a glance.



Courses have different dates for lab quizzes, lab reports, and other small assignments. Use task managing systems like Notion, external link, opens in new window, Asana, or even Google Calendar to provide reminders on assignments you have to finish and due dates that are approaching.

Personalize D2L


Customize your D2L settings to get notifications sent directly to your email and cellphone. Check out this guide on how to personalize your D2L notifications. , opens in new window

Create a Routine


Create a routine and stick to it. Don't overwhelm yourself. Plan to accomplish a few manageable tasks a day. You can even schedule your breaks. Note, it's okay to fall off schedule sometimes. Don't beat yourself up if you do.

Break it Down


At the start of the week make a timeline of work you need to complete. Breakdown the task into smaller pieces and work towards the bigger picture.

Google Calendar


Adding your Zoom links to your GCal helps to stay organized. If you want to add Zoom links to your calendar, duplicate the class slot on your Google Calendar, add the link onto the information section, save it, and then delete the original class slot.

Health and wellbeing should always be top priority. It’s an expression of your physical and mental health and must be taken seriously. Ryeron’s Mental Health and Wellbeing website, opens in new window has great resources to ensure you stay healthy and succeed in your academic studies at the same time. If you are in crisis, here are 24-hour services that may be helpful, opens in new window.



Take time for physical activities. Go to the RAC, opens in new window or MAC, external link, opens in new window to get active. Stretch during breaks, take a walk or find free workouts on YouTube. Try out these stretches to get you started. Stretches at your desk, external link, opens in new window, stretches to counteract sitting, external link, opens in new window, and stretches for good posture, external link, opens in new window.



Practicing mindfulness, and cultivating attitudes of gratitude, optimism, and grit allow us to be truly resilient. Thrive RU has resources and exercises to help improve your life satisfaction, happiness and resilience., opens in new window

Talk it Out


If you ever want to talk to a trained professional about how you’re feeling, you can book an appointment with a counsellor. Ryerson has 2 counsellors for the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. Book an appointment through the Ryerson Student Wellbeing website., opens in new window

Take Breaks


Burnout can have a significant effect on your studies. Take breaks during the day. Studying right after 6 hours of lectures, might not be the best for your health and taking breaks will improve productivity.

Eye Health


Look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze 20 feet away at a distant object for 20 seconds. It relaxes the eye muscle to reduce fatigue. Reduce eye lock up by looking far away for 10-15 seconds then up close for 10-15 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Power Nap


Taking a quick 10-30 minute nap between 12:00pm - 3:00pm is a great way to refresh yourself and give your eyes some rest. Read this article, external link, opens in new window to learn more about how to power nap like a pro.

Don’t let time overwhelm you. The tips below help you to determine where your time is best spent and how to optimize it. You can’t control time but you can control what you do with it.

Where does your time go? Use Student Learning Support’s PDF file168 Hours Worksheet to help figure out where your time goes. Once completed adjust your schedule accordingly to optimize your time.

Plan for Success


If your friends are asking to hang out the night before your midterm saying yes might not be the best idea. Ensure that you’re giving yourself enough time to fulfill your school responsibilities. Check out SLS’s Tips on how to manage your time in University. , external link, opens in new window

Task Priority 


Have a lot to do and don’t know where to start? Focus on the tasks that are due the soonest and are the most important. Try using the Eisenhower Matrix, external link, opens in new window to identify which tasks you should prioritize.

Interval Studying


Study in 25 minute intervals. This is referred to as the Pomodoro technique, where you work for 25 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes and then repeat for as many times as necessary. Check out this infographic, external link, opens in new window to understand how to utilize the Pomodoro Technique.

Academic Advisor


If you are struggling with finding a balance between your personal life and school work book an appointment with your Academic Advisor. They can advise you on pathways for academic success.

Study Plan


Book an appointment with a Peer Study Coach, opens in new window to work on time-management strategies. Get study skills help, and develop a personalized study plan to help you accomplish your goals.

Additional Resources