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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. 

Have questions but unsure where to ask? Have questions about thriving in a virtual learning world? Email
The Virtual Learning Team is happy to support you.

Online learning tips


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!

Have an academic question but not sure who to ask? Email or

Glossary of Academic Terms

Want to suggest a term to add to the glossary? Students, take this week's Community Check-in Survey and share your thoughts! Faculty and staff, send us an email.

  • Synchronous

    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.

  • Asynchronous

    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).

  • Check-in

    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.

  • Office Hours

    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.

  • Hybrid Courses

    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.  

  • Online Courses

    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.

  • In-Person Courses

    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. 

  • Pre-recorded Videos

    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


Ways to Connect Virtually

Technology and IT

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.

Helpful Resources

Online Exam Proctoring