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Prepare for Online Learning

Learning in Canvas

Canvas is the Learning Management System used for all courses at Cal Poly Humboldt. In addition to common uses such as file sharing and assignment submission, online classes use Canvas to deliver course content, like instructional videos, readings, and external media, and to conduct course activities, such as discussions and peer reviews. You should become familiar with your Canvas course site and know where to find course content, files, and assignments. You can find many helpful how-to guides in the Canvas Student Guide.

In general, what you need to learn in an online environment is not very different than in a classroom, especially since most face-to-face courses utilize online technologies for things like media, file sharing, assignment submission, etc.

First Steps

  1. Review the syllabus thoroughly and ask your instructor any clarifying questions.
  2. Navigate all around the course to discover its layout and links. Make sure you identify how to get started in the course.
  3. Identify tasks and make sure you have access to any tools/software required to perform those tasks. 

Ongoing Steps

  1. Check your email or Canvas course announcements regularly for updates and information from your instructor.
  2. Develop a study plan for all your courses. Use the Canvas Calendar (in the global navigation on the far left side) to see a comprehensive view of all the assignments for your courses. Be vigilent.
  3. Keep in contact with your instructors! If you have concerns about accessing online content or IRL books or meeting deadlines or anything else getting between your and your learning, let them know.

Doing the Work and Getting Credit

Make sure you use your official Humboldt email for communicating with your instructors and not a personal gmail or other account, wherever possible.

Always check your syllabus and communicate with your instructor, but here are common ways you may submit assignments:

  • Essay assignments are usually submitted to a designated assignment folder in Canvas.
  • Quizzes: you may be required to take a timed online quiz or exam within a specific testing window. Online quizzes may include a variety of question types such as multiple choice, true or false, essay, fill-in-the-blank. When taking an online quiz, be sure to allow sufficient time to complete the quiz before the testing window ends — any open quiz will be submitted automatically at the cutoff time.
  • You may attach a file to Discussion Forums.
  • Presentations may be done either by submitting your presentation into an Assignment folder or by participating in a Zoom session online with the rest of your class.


Some courses require students to participate in online class meetings using Zoom. You may need a webcam and headset with microphone to participate in online meetings. For the best experience, find a quiet location with reliable internet connection and privacy to participate in online meetings.