Tips for Learning

Tools and resources for new and current students to prepare for learning and life at Mohawk.

Tips for learning

Get helpful tips for being a successful college learner, including information and tips on academic integrity, study habits, time management, and motivation.  

On this page:

Watch: Tips for learning in a virtual and remote environment from Mohawk Alumni Carly

Carly is a college alumni, and a current employee. She has some great tips to share about learning in a virtual and remote environment from her own student experience.


Start the semester off right 

  1. Print or take a screenshot of your class schedule so you can plan your week. Learn more about how to choose your timetable and how to read your timetable
  2. Try to get into a routine with online class and studying 
  3. Try to start assignments as soon as possible so you don’t get behind 
  4. Break larger assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks
  5. Try to balance your weekly schedule with both studying and fun activities to help manage stress 
  6. Register with Accessible Learning Services if you feel you need accommodations 
  7. Connect with counselling if you feel like you are struggling
  8. Take the Be More Pledge

Study Habits 

Note-Taking Tips 

Anticipate what your instructor will discuss in class by: 

  • Reviewing notes from the last class 
  • Completing readings ahead of class 
  • Looking at handouts that the instructor provides before class

Be an active listener by: 

  • Removing distractions in your learning environment 
  • Using headphones to improve audio quality 
  • Leave room in your notes for missed information 
  • Ask clarifying questions in class 
  • Be sure to note points that your instructor repeats or emphasizes


Take organized notes by: 

  • Listening for main ideas 
  • Listening for details by asking yourself if the information is relevant and/or if it supports the main idea 
  • Abbreviate terms and use simple phrases 
  • Use visual markers to separate and emphasize important points


Study Smart provides some helpful learning strategies, studying and time management tips. Study Smart has been woven into the Orientation course. New students will be given access to the course, and returning students can self-register through MyCanvas.

Tips to support your study habits as you learn in a virtual and remote environment.  

For help with studying, here are a few services you can access at Mohawk:

Staying Motivated

Tips for Focus in a Digital Environment

  • Tune into classes on the right device. If possible, try to set yourself up in a place where you will be comfortable for the duration of class.
  • Ensure devices and software are up-to-date to minimize the possibility of tech issues
  • Make sure your virtual environment is distraction free. Turn off the TV, situate yourself in a quiet space away from roommates and/or pets, etc.
  • Make sure you have eaten before class starts, and have healthy snacks available during class to maintain your energy and mental function
  • Engage do-not-disturb mode on your devices, and resist the urge to check emails, texts or apps during class
  • Take notes during class to stay engaged with what your instructor is saying. Having notes to return to after class will also help you to better recall what happened in class
  • If you had an academic accommodation or IEP in high school, reach out to Accessible Learning Services by emailing als [at] (als[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca). We are here to support your academic needs!
  • If you are experiencing difficulty managing notes, studying or time management, Mohawk College has trained counsellors who can assist you with your academic progress. Email: counselling [at] (counselling[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca) to set up an intake


Learning in a virtual and remote environment is different than learning in-person. Some of these differences may include: an increased interaction with technology; additional flexibility in your schedule; or competing demands on your time. Check out The Learning Portal's Staying Motivated resource to help you stay motivated as you learn in this new environment.

Time Management

Time Management Checklist 

  • Review MyCanvas and Course Learning Plan
  • Add all of your important academic dates (i.e. assignments and tests) to your calendar (i.e. iPhone calendar, whiteboard, agenda, etc.)
  • Review what you need to complete each week and create a weekly to-do list
  • Determine how much time each task will take to complete (over-estimate in case a task takes longer than anticipated)
  • Break your assignments down into manageable chunks
  • Plan your week by: 
    • Writing down commitments (i.e. work, family plans, class, etc.)
    • Slotting your homework into available times and scheduling your homework evenly across the week (for example, three hours of homework a day)
    • Scheduling your homework for the time of day when you are. the most focused/alert (for example, first thing in the morning)
    • Planning to complete harder tasks first
    • Scheduling breaks – refer to the Pomodoro Technique


Resources to help you manage your time: 

Breaks and Exercise 

To maintain a healthy balance, healthy mind and motivation, taking breaks and finding ways to work self-care and exercise into your routine will really help.  

The Science of Taking a Break 

Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills


Minimize Eye Strain

Remember the 20-20-20 Rule! For every 20 minutes on a screen, spend 20 seconds looking at something nearby (not on the screen) and 20 seconds looking at something far away.

Keep Moving

Activities that you can do at your desk:


Stay Full & Hydrated

  • You can’t work when you’re Hangry!
  • Make sure to take breaks to eat and keep your water bottle full
  • Water increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain which improves concentration!

Virtual Self-Advocacy 

Self-advocacy is the action of representing oneself or one's views or interests. Here are some tips for self-advocacy in a virtual and remote learning environment.

Ways to Practice Self-Advocacy in the Virtual Classroom

Self-Advocacy for College Students 

For more information on virtual self-advocacy, or additional resources if you have or think you may have a disability, contact Accessible Learning Services

Academic Integrity

Mohawk College promotes and values Academic Integrity in all forms of learning. For more information check out the Academic Integrity website with resources for students and an online module.

Digital Skills Toolkit  

The Digital Skills Toolkit includes tech guides, training and support related to student systems and academic technology at Mohawk College. Student support is provided by Learning Technology Coaches through the Academic Technology department. 

The toolkit is a public course in MyCanvas, the learning management system at Mohawk. The course does not require logging in. Current students can "Join the Course" if they prefer to have it added to their list of current courses.

Self-Register into the Digital Skills Toolkit in MyCanvas – Open Courses.