Your Learning Experience
What are my classes going to be like? How will I be graded? What happens if I miss a test? When should I buy my textbooks? Where’s the library? Can I get help with research?
- Ryerson’s academic culture
- Class formats
- Student Learning Support
- Ryerson Library and Archives
- One-stop Course Readings Service
- Methods of performance assessment
- Expectations in the classroom
- Connecting with your instructor
- Turnitin.com – plagiarism prevention
- Class attendance
- Missing a test, assignment, or quiz
- Religious, aboriginal and spiritual observances
- Regrading of work or recalculation of a grade
- See also
- Quick links
- Lecture: Depending on the size of the program you are in, there could be anywhere from 15 to 500 students in a lecture. The instructor may incorporate presentations, guest speakers, group participation and many other classroom techniques to encourage student engagement.
- Tutorials: Many lectures may have a tutorial scheduled at a different time than the lecture. This breaks down the larger class into smaller groups and encourages discussion and participation. Tutorials may be run by the instructor or by a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Assistant (GA).
- Laboratory (labs): Some programs may have labs where you work either individually or in a small group to learn and experiment with the course material in a hands-on environment. In many cases labs are mandatory. Please make sure to check the course outline or speak to your instructor for details.
- Seminars: These are often used in graduate courses and are small in nature to encourage a great degree of class participation and class presentations.
- Studio: Some programs may have studio classes in which you execute a design or production related to your field.
- Practicum/Internship/Field Placement: Some programs have a practicum/internship in which you are required to take part. A specific number of hours or days of on-the-job experience is required to gain hands-on insight into what a job in this field would be like. Normally this must be completed before you can graduate from the program. Consult the Undergraduate Calendar and your department handbook to learn if your program has a practicum or internship expectation.
Student Learning Support is a group of services and programs aimed at helping students engage more effectively in their academic studies. We teach essential academic skills and study techniques that help students to more effectively express their intelligence, apply their knowledge and communicate their ideas.
The Ryerson Library and Archives is located in the heart of the campus in the Library building (2nd floor, 350 Victoria Street).
The collection includes over 500,000 books and more than $3-million is spent annually to support electronic resources (nearly 45,000 e-journals, 165,000 e-books, databases and indexes, geospatial data and catalogued websites or electronic documents). Many course readings are available online and can be accessed through D2L Brightspace. See Course Readings, below.
The Ryerson OneCard is also your library card and can be used for printing or photocopying on campus. You can access electronic resources from off-campus with your my.ryerson account.
Computer Access: The Ronald D. Besse Information and Learning Commons on the main floor provides more than 140 computers for student use, as well as printers, scanners and laptops (available on loan). IT support is available onsite.
Quiet and Group Study Areas: Quiet and group study space is available throughout the library, with the 10th floor reserved for silent study. You can also reserve group study rooms online.
Research Help: Research support is available on the library’s main floor, at the Research Help Desk and through one-on-one appointments and through "Ask a Librarian", our live chat research help service. Our Research Skills Workshop series, available to any Ryerson student, will help you build your research skills and will show you how to access resources for your academic work.
The Library makes it easy to locate your course readings, print or electronic, assigned by your instructors.
From your D2L Brightspace (my.ryerson.ca) course page, you can:
- access E-Reserve readings (article links or scanned book chapters)
- see the list of books, videos or CDs that your instructor has placed on Reserve (short term loans) for you at the Library Circulation Desk.
You are able to create personal tags to electronic readings, a hot list across courses and receive email notification when a new reading is added.
- Quizzes/Tests/Exams: These are normally done in class at the end of specific readings, mid-term, or at the end of the term. They may consist of multiple choice questions, true/false statements, short answer questions and/or essay questions.
- Research Papers: These are assigned in advance and you are expected to work on them outside of class and do research using scholarly sources to help write the paper. You are normally expected to provide your own originality and use research to support your own critical thinking.
- Reflective Papers: These are assigned in advance and you are expected to work on them outside of class and to reflect on your own personal or work experiences to help show what knowledge and understanding you have learned from that situation or event. This may or may not require support from scholarly work.
- Group Projects: Group projects give you the opportunity to learn both new course material and discover ways of working with other people.
- Class Participation: Your instructor may assign grades for class participation. It is important to know what is expected of you in terms of participation so you can follow through. If the course outline is not clear, ask your instructor for clarification.
If laptops are allowed in the classroom, be respectful and make sure you are not distracting others around you by watching movies, playing video games or engaging in social media. Also, please be mindful of the following:
- Try not to engage in side conversations that may distract others and the instructor.
- Try to be on time for your classes. All classes at Ryerson begin 10 minutes after the designated time. For example, if your class runs from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the class will begin at 10:10 a.m. Many instructors do not allow late students in.
- Make sure your cell phone is off when in the classroom. Most courses have a break where you can check your messages or make calls.
- If allowed, many students will eat food in class. If you do, please make sure you are respectful and as quiet as possible and that you clean up after yourself.
- Many instructors encourage questions in class.
- You may find that some students will challenge an instructor’s point of view or disagree with something an instructor has taught or said. This is common and if it is done respectfully it can create interesting and thought-provoking discussions in class.
- Some instructors will ask to be called by their first names and others may choose to go by “Dr.” and their last name. Your instructor will state their preferences in the first day of class.
- Attire: There is no dress code or uniform at Ryerson. Some students and instructors will dress casually and comfortably, some will be dressed professionally and others in accordance with their religious beliefs. Dress codes may apply to placements/internships.
Ryerson subscribes to the services of Turnitin. This service helps Instructors identify internet plagiarism and helps you maintain academic integrity. Turnitin allows your instructors to check your work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against continuously updated databases.
We encourage you to maintain regular attendance to make the most of your academic experience.
In fact, some programs and/or classes have attendance regulations. In some courses you will be graded for participation. Be sure to follow any guidelines in your department/school handbook or any other information you have received from your department/school.
If attendance and/or participation is part of a mark for a course, your Instructor should tell you at the beginning of the term what you need to do when you have to miss classes. Usually an official written medical certificate or other documentation within three (3) working days, will ensure that you are not penalized for an absence.
However, if unavoidable circumstances cause you to miss classes for more than a few days the Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals Policy (see also Essential Policy Highlights) requires that you tell your instructor and ask for consideration as soon as a situation arises that may affect your work.
You must tell the instructor or the Chair/Director of your program as soon as circumstances arise that are likely to affect your academic performance. Communication with your instructors is crucial.
Requesting Consideration: You must tell your instructors when you miss work for health or other reasons. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you should do this before the date of the test or exam, or the due date of the assignment. You must submit all documentation in support of any academic consideration request, (for example, health, compassionate or other unforeseen circumstances) to your program department.
The Academic Consideration Document Submission Form is online. You must submit documents for medical and other unforeseen circumstances within three (3) working days of the missed work. The department will tell your instructors that the document has been submitted and they will decide if you are to be given consideration for missed work. Also see Examinations.
If you need to miss a class, test, quiz, exam, etc. because of a specific religious or spiritual observance you must tell your instructor within the first two weeks of the class or, for a final examination, within two weeks of the posting of the examination schedule.
The course outline will list your assignments, quizzes, and test dates. If you need to make such a request, please familiarize yourself with Senate Policy 150 Accommodation of Student Religious, Aboriginal and Spiritual Observance and see Essential Policy Highlights.
The Accommodation of Student Religious, Aboriginal and Spiritual Observance form is available on the Senate website. The Selected Religious Observance Calendar is updated annually.
- PDF fileSenate Office: Academic Consideration Document Submission Form (pdf)
- PDF fileSenate Office: Religious, Aboriginal and Spiritual Observance Form (pdf)
- PDF filePolicy 150: Accommodation of Student Religious, Aboriginal and Spiritual Observance (pdf)
- Human Rights Services: Religious & Cultural Observances Calendar
If you believe an assignment, test or exam, either in whole or part, has not been appropriately graded, or a grade has been miscalculated because of an omission or an improper addition, you must contact the instructor to resolve the issue within ten (10) working days of the date when the graded work is returned to the class.
This is a time-sensitive process. Grades not questioned within this period will not be recalculated at a later date. See Senate Policy 134 Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals for information and instructions. Also see Essential Policy Highlights.
As a student you use copyrighted materials all the time. Copyrighted material contained in textbooks, posted course readings, handouts, multimedia material and library books are a central part of your learning experience here at Ryerson University.
Canada’s Copyright Act has a copyright exception called “fair dealing” that gives you the right to copy short excerpts (up to 10% of a work or one chapter) for certain purposes (such as private study and research). Please respect these limits.