As you take classes in WPI's virtual environment, we want to provide the information and resources you need to be ready to thrive in the online space. Below are a list of resources as well as an academic-centered FAQ. Undergraduates taking online classes will receive a weekly email with suggested resources and ideas to be successful that week as well as connecting you to virtual campus resources. You may not be on campus, but all of our offices are ready to support you throughout the term.
Just in Time Tips Newsletter
Read through the Just in Time Tips newsletter from the 3rd week of A term.
The newsletter comes out weekly from Undergraduate Studies (you can also find it in your WPI email). It has some academic ideas and resources designed to help you get organized before the term begins. Email UndergradStudies@wpi.edu with any questions.
We have many resources available to students taking online courses. From scientific or engineering software to the Global Lab (creating videos, websites, and more) to virtual activities to IT and software to project starter ideas and so much more, there is lots to check out.
Make a copy of our WPI Term Academic Calendar Template and use it to map out key dates!
Make a copy of our WPI Weekly Academic Calendar Template and use it to stay organized!
Watch a short video made by WPI students for WPI students about getting set up for a successful term!
Take a look at the Virtual Learning Hub!
Take a look in the Canvas Online Student Center!
Meetings that happen live (could be in person or online. Your professor is teaching or answering questions in real time. You can interact with your professor and your classmates. The expectation is often that you do your best to attend. Examples of synchronous course events could include lectures, office hours, question and answer sessions, and review sessions before an exam.
Meetings or information that is pre-recorded and posted in the course website from which students will learn. The expectations are that students watch and/or read the information when is convenient for them by due dates. Students then turn in assignments or participate in discussion boards by outlined due dates. Examples of asynchronous events could include pre-recorded lectures, video clips posted to Canvas, and discussion boards where you can post at your convenience (by the assigned deadlines of course).
All WPI students must go into BannerWeb, under the Student Services & Financial Aid tab, click “Check-in,” and then complete that process. If you plan to take courses that semester, you MUST check in and indicate you “AGREE” to the terms or you will be dropped from your courses.
These are meeting times with your professor or your TA/PLA where you can ask questions about lecture content, homework assignments, or any course related content. It is also a good way for your professor to get to know you. It is best to prepare a question before joining office hours. If office hours are held in person, you can show up at the designated time and place. If office hours are held virtually, you can click the link during the designated time.
Some people in the course will join in person while others will join online. Each professor’s hybrid course will look a bit different so make sure to read through the syllabus to understand expectations. If you are on campus but plan to attend virtually, make sure to email your professor. If you are attending virtually, make sure to pay attention to participation and online attendance expectations.
These courses are fully online. Some may be synchronous and others might be asynchronous. Make sure to read the syllabus carefully to understand how your professor has designed your course. Don’t assume anything. There may also be participation or attendance requirements. Make sure you are clear on these expectations. Email your professor with questions about the setup and requirements as soon as possible.
These courses expect that you will attend in person. You are not able to attend virtually. Make sure you are clear on attendance requirements.
Virtual Study Groups
Even if you are not able to form study groups in person, you can still form groups virtually using Zoom or Teams. Try emailing some people from your class to see if they’re interested in joining you. You could also ask your professor if there’s a place to post the invitation in the course Canvas site.
PTH - Protect The Herd
Wear a mask, following social distancing (6 feet from others), and wash your hands.
Canvas, Teams, Zoom, Slack, and other online tools
Canvas is the platform used by many courses to host a course website. It allows you to submit assignments, take quizes, post on discussion boards, read information and more.
Teams is a platform supported by WPI where you can form groups, chat, video conference, store files that anyone in that group needs access to, and more.
Zoom is a video conferencing platform where you can meet virtually with others.
Slack is another platform that teams can use to share information and chat. This platform is not currently supported by WPI.
Videos already done that you watch on your own time, not a set time, and are helpful for the next class session whether it is online or in person.
Ways to Set Myself Up for Success
How do I remember what to do and when for each class? Are there reminders in Canvas?
We encourage you to make a weekly schedule that includes study time and due dates. You can also set up notifications in Canvas to remind you about items like assignments. Take a look in the Canvas Online Student Center under Update Your Profile & Notification Preferences.
How can I handle boredom and stay active to help me focus better on classwork?
We encourage you to make a schedule for the week that includes all academic related items as well as times to be active, do something fun, connect virtually with friends, and more. Connect with Student Activities to learn more about non-academic strategies from them.
How often should I check my classes on Canvas?
We suggest you check canvas several times a day. The more routinely you check Canvas, the less likely you will be surprised by a due date or other important information. We encourage you to set up notifications from Canvas to your email so you also get push notifications (see Update Your Profile & Notification Preferences in the Canvas Online Student Center).
My class isn't showing up in Canvas. What do I do?
If your course is not yet showing up in Canvas, it most likely means that some content is being finalized to go live. You can either check back in a little while or email your professor for more information.
Can my instructor see how often I log onto my class canvas site?
Yes, Faculty and TAs/PLAs (if your course has one) can see how often you login, if you've accessed information, how long you've spent on content, and the percentage of work you've completed, among other things.
Ways to Connect Virtually
Are there office hours?
Many faculty are holding office hours virtually. Check your course syllabus and/or email your professor or TA/PLA for specific information for your class.
If my class has a TA/PLA, will I be able to connect with them?
Yes, if your class is scheduled to have a TA or PLA, you will be able to connect with them virtually. Check out your course Canvas site to see how to best reach out.
How do I work with a partner or team or study with others in virtual classes?
Connect with your professor about expectations for partner and/or group work. Remember, WPI policies around academic honesty still apply. If you are looking to find ways to connect with peers for any of these reasons or more, consider emailing a classmate through the course Canvas site and/or utilizing WPI tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to virtually connect. Learn more about these tools in the Canvas Online Student Center site.
What are the different ways to communicate virtually for academic purposes and which should I use when?
You can email your professor, TA/PLA, and classmates directly through your course in Canvas (see the Canvas Online Student Center for instructions). You can also connect to other resources on campus (for example, Academic Advising for tutoring or Librarians for research) virtually. Check out their websites for contact information.
How can I make virtual learning feel more personal?
Take a look in the Canvas Online Student Center under Update Your Profile & Notification Preferences and learn how to make your Canvas profile. We also encourage you to reach out your faculty, TA/PLA, and classmates to stay in touch. If you have questions, don't hesitate to reach out.
Technology and IT
- I'm having trouble getting into my WPI email or other WPI sites that require your username and password. Who do I contact?
How can I get software for my courses now that I don’t have access to computer labs?
WPI has expanded the number of terminal servers (https://its.wpi.edu/component/77/terminal-services) available to students. View a full list of the Terminal Servers available for WPI public use at the Locations and Servers Page (https://its.wpi.edu/Locations-and-Servers). Each server listed shows the software available on the server.
Use the Software Library (https://its.wpi.edu/Software-Library) to search for a specific application. Each software entry in the library contains information about the application, and it’s availability on remote servers. Use the Advanced Filters, “License Required” and “For use on Personal Device,” to discover WPI-Provisioned software available for installation on your personal machine. Software available for install on personal machines have a related Install Guide explaining how to install and properly license the application.
Do I need the VPN to access terminal servers?
The VPN is not required to access any of the terminal servers.
What if the software I need is not available on a terminal server?
For applications that are graphically intensive (many IMGD applications, Revit, etc.), we will be provisioning virtual desktops in the cloud that can be accessed anywhere without the need for the VPN. We will have more information later this week.
If you are taking a course that relies heavily on Maple, Comsol, Ansys, or Abaqus, we are working with instructors to provide dedicated resources for the course. Check with your instructor for the necessary resource information.
How do I install software on my personal computer?
View all software available at the Software Library (https://its.wpi.edu/Software-Library). Use the Advanced Filters, “License Required” and “For use on Personal Device,” to discover WPI-Provisioned software available for installation on your personal machine. Software available for install on personal machines have a related Install Guide explaining how to install and properly license the application.
General Course Questions
Will lectures be prerecorded or streamed?
Most classes will occur asynchronously, and can be accessible when you have time. If your professor has meetings times they would like you to attend, this will be noted in Canvas and/or on the course syllabus.
Will I get to see my instructor or will I have narrated slideshows?
While narrated slideshows are common, how each professor teaches their course does vary. Many faculty will be able to hold virtual office hours utilizing tools such as Zoom. Check your course syllabus or email your professor or TA/PLA.
How will participation be monitored?
This will vary course by course. We encourage you to read your course syllabus and reach out to your professor or TA/PLA. Professors can see how often you login, if you've accessed information, how long you've spent on content, and the percentage of work you've completed, among other things.
How will time zone differences be addressed?
This will vary course by course. We encourage you to read your course syllabus and reach out to your professor or TA/PLA.
Online Exam Proctoring
I have questions about Honorlock including how it interacts with my internet and others using it. Where can I learn more?
For Honorlock questions, we highly recommend reading through an Honorlock Security and Privacy FAQ developed by Florida State University. This should answer most questions WPI students may have.
Take a look at information from Honorlock as well: Honorlock Protects Student Privacy & Data and Top Six Questions From Students About Privacy and Security