Learn more about the technologies you will need for courses delivered remotely.

Technology for online learning

Learning Online

If you're considering taking an online course, you already know that it will require some basic technology skills. And while you don't need to be a computer scientist to take a class online (unless maybe it's a class on computer science), it would be good for you to have a really solid understanding of the basic technical skills you'll need to succeed.
After completing this module, you'll have an idea of what your online instructor might need you to know. This includes becoming familiar with:

  • the hardware and software requirements of most online courses
  • the value of a fast Internet connection
  • how to locate and download the free plugins that your course might require 
  • the basics of email
  • how to obtain tech support when you need it

What Will I Need?

Students now are taking their online courses using a range of devices, from desktop and laptop computers to smartphones and tablets. You may choose to do your schoolwork on one or more of these devices—it's really about finding out which form of hardware best suits both your needs as a student and the requirements of the course.

If you're going to buy a computer, select something reliable, and more importantly, make sure that you have access to a fast Internet connection. If your computer isn't particularly reliable, or if you don't have a computer or other Internet-capable device, don't worry—there are plenty of places where you can find computer access, and oftentimes for free: for instance, your local library or a computer lab on campus. Just make sure that the device you choose to work on is dependable and that the space you choose to work in is conducive to your study habits. Slow computers and poor Internet connections can significantly increase the time it takes for you to access and complete the requirements for your online course, and the last thing you want to deal with all semester is Internet, hardware, or accessibility issues. 

There are some basics that your device will need to be equipped with in order to interact with UM Learn properly. For instance, you'll want to make sure that you have an up-to-date operating system. Your computer's operating system is the software that manages the programs and functions of your computer.

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Your computer should be running on one of the following operating systems: For PC, Windows 7 or higher. For Mac, OS 10.4 or higher. Your individual course may also have its own hardware requirements. Check with your instructor or take a look at your syllabus to see if there is anything else you might need for your course.  Some of these common hardware requirements might include: a printer, a headset, speakers, and a web cam. Another factor that you'll want to note is whether your course or LMS requires a particular browser for viewing internet content. Some content does not display properly or particular functions may not perform adequately in certain browsers; if you view the same content or page in a different browser, it will look and work perfectly. So, make sure that if your course instructs you to use a particular browser when completing a certain task, you follow those instructions. This may seem unimportant, especially if there is a certain browser that you prefer using when online, but it's all about compatibility. In fact, it is always a good idea to have several browsers installed on your computer when possible - that way you have a few options to choose from if you run into any problems.  Some popular browsers that will work with your school's LMS include: Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox. These browsers should work fine with your school's LMS, but again, they may not all work well with particular resources or applications that your course may need you to access for certain assignments. If there are any compatibility issues you need to be aware of, your course will let you know which browser to use for the most reliable experience. In addition to having a browser to view online content, sometimes your course may require you to install one or more of the following plugins so that you can view other media that the browser alone may not be able to handle: like animations, sound clips, PDFs, or any number of other things.  Some common plug-ins you may need to install could include: Java, Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime, and Microsoft Silverlight. These are free applications you can download from the internet, and your instructor (or even your computer) will let you know when you need a particular plug-in in order to view something. You will also need an email account, if you don't already have one. Lots of schools provide free email accounts for registered students and some insist that you use this account for any school-related emails. Take a look at your school's email policy and figure this out before you sign up for any online course, because this will be one of the chief ways that you will communicate with your instructors and classmates. Your instructor will probably state in his or syllabus what the preferred means of communication will be for the term. And if you're not required to use a school email account, you can use one you've already set up, or set up a new one with a free email service like Gmail or Yahoo Mail. In fact, even if you have an old email account, you may want to make a new one that reflects your status as a college student.

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Adapted from:

California Community Colleges
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. They are available to everyone and may be repurposed to meet the unique needs of educational institutions.

The Manitoba Flexible Learning HUB 2017

Unless otherwise stated, all content in the Learning Online course by University of Manitoba is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Self-registering for courses in UM Learn

There are many self-registration courses offered by UM. Here's a guide through the process of self-registration.

Before we begin: You will need your credentials to login to UM Learn. Visit the Claim ID page for more information or call the service desk at 204-474-8600.

To self register for a course, follow these steps:

  1. Login to UM Learn
  2. Click the Self Registration link on the My Home page navbar
  3. Search for the course that you wish to register for in the Self Registering Course Offerings list and click the associated link
  4. Click on the Register button
  5. Fill in the Registration Form and click Submit
  6. Confirm that all pertinent information is correct, then click Finish
  7. Click Done
  8. Click Go to course offering to access the course

Self-registering for Respondus (e-proctoring software)

A resource has been developed to help you review the fundamentals of academic integrity and download, install and run Respondus LockDown Browser. You can also complete a practice exam (as many times as you wish) to become familiar with exam-writing when Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor are enabled.

(Note: Respondus Monitor cannot be run without Respondus LockDown Browser.) Student connectivity requirements can be found at minimum system requirements.

You can self-register for this Respondus Monitor practice course by following these steps:

  1. Login to UM Learn.
  2. Select ‘Self-Registration’ from the top menu.
  3. Select ‘Respondus Monitor Practice Exam’ (near the top of the list).
  4. Complete the registration steps and then click on ‘Go to course offering’.

Practicing well in advance of your course quizzes, tests, and exams will save you time, focus your efforts, and ensure you have more time to ask questions that you may have about this tool. Please read the FAQ section in the course to access additional information, such as privacy, instructor settings, and more.

Self-registering for Learning Online course

Available through UM Learn, the Learning Online course addresses the benefits and challenges of remote learning. Available in English and Mandarin.

To self register for this course, follow these steps:

  1. Login to UM Learn
  2. Click the Self Registration link on the My Home page navbar
  3. Search for "Learning Online" in the Self Registering Course Offerings list and click the associated link
  4. Click on the Register button
  5. Fill in the Registration Form and click Submit
  6. Confirm that all pertinent information is correct, then click Finish
  7. Click Done
  8. Click Go to course offering to access the course


Get tips to help you succeed in the remote learning environment.

Structure your time

While classes are delivered remotely, and you may not be participating in other in-person activities, you will find yourself with a lot of free time. Remember that you are still enrolled in your classes, and you are expected to continue your learning independently. As you structure your time, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are three things that I want to accomplish today?
  • Which are the highest priority?
  • What day and time will I do these things? 
    • Note: You can use this template to fill out the times that you will complete daily tasks, such as cooking/eating, studying, calling friends/family etc.

Prepare to study at home

Because you will be spending a lot of time at home, you may benefit from reconfiguring space where you study and review remote content. If you normally sit in bed or on the couch, consider siting up at your desk or kitchen table. You will also want to ensure that you are set up with the technology you need to participate in remote learning, such as:

  • Please review the Recommended Minimum Technology Requirements for Students (Remote and Online Learning at the U of M)
  • Prepare in advance for remote and online learning by setting up the technology you will need:
    • UM Learn: Log in and make sure you can navigate each course, especially if your instructor has not previously used this platform.
  • Software: Download the most recent version of the software you will need to complete your work, such as Office 365 and Adobe Acrobat.
  • Email: Ensure you can easily log into and access your UManitoba email account
  • High-speed internet: Check that you have a reliable internet connection, and contact your service provider if you have any concerns.

Communicate with your instructor

Your instructor has adapted their course materials for remote learning. But, you may still have questions about assignment guidelines or assessments, technical errors, or gaps in content. This means that there may be a lack of clarity in assignment guidelines or assessments, technical errors, or gaps in content. Contact your instructor if you have any questions about the course. Refrain from relying on your friends or classmates to provide clarification on assignment expectations, because only your instructor can accurately provide this information. However, if you are having difficulty with UM Learn, contact IST, as they can help you to troubleshoot.

  • Note: It is your responsibility to clarify any areas of confusion in your remote course, including assignment and test expectations.

Find alternative means of communicating

A number of tools are available that can help bridge the gap while you are completing group assignments or otherwise communicating with your classmates. Some of these tools include Webex which is free.

  • Note: Your instructor’s directives regarding individual work still apply to a remote environment, unless otherwise noted. Violating your instructor’s expectations by working with others on an individual assignment can lead to an allegation of inappropriate collaboration.

Treat a remote course as seriously as a regular course

Although a remote environment can feel informal as compared to in-person instruction, you are still expected to abide by the University’s academic integrity expectations, outlined in the academic calendar and Student Discipline Bylaw. This means following the course instructions for individual work, assignment deadlines, and tests/exams. For example: 

  • If you are unclear about assignment expectations, contact your instructor. Do not rely on classmates.
  • If an assignment is intended to be individual, do not work with others.
  • For a group assignment, make sure that you have set clear expectations for each group member’s role, your project timeline, and the frequency and manner of communication.
  • If you are feeling physically or mentally unwell, do not submit an assignment that knowingly violates academic integrity expectations. Contact your instructor to discuss your options. 
  • If you are relying on sources in order to complete your assignment (even if it is not a research paper), ensure you paraphrase/quote properly and include citations and references. Visit the Libraries and Academic Learning Centre websites for resources and remote support.
  • Visit the Academic Integrity website for more information on maintaining academic integrity and avoiding academic misconduct.

Take care of your wellbeing

Your wellbeing is important to us. Make sure to rest, eat well, and take the time to disengage from the news. It is also important to stay connected to family and friends, using tools such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, and others. Reach out to the people you trust and share how you are feeling.

The rapid changes in routine and lifestyle presented by COVID-19 result in stress, confusion, and anxiety for many. Under these conditions, many of us will find it difficult to make the best decisions for our overall wellbeing. Please note that the following resources are available to support you during this time:


Discover resources available to assist you in all aspects of your learning.

Make use of campus resources to assist you in your work

Even though you won’t be on campus, we are still here to support you in finishing your term successfully. Student supports are available by phone, email, and/or video conferencing appointments, including:

Access to Campus

Find out what spaces and services are currently open and accessible on our campuses.