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Remote learning: Contacting lecturers

“The truth is that as an online student, you are not alone by any measure. Investing some initial time in clicking around... will reveal a robust network of resources in place to support you."

Globokar,  Introduction to Online Learning: A Guide for Students

Your course lecturers are here to help you. They are working hard to move teaching online and ensure you can still meet all the necessary learning objectives. If you have any issues or problems, we urge you get in touch.


Contacting lecturers directly

If you have any problems or issues with a module or assessment, then it is important to get in touch with your lecturer. You can contact them directly either via Canvas messages or email - they will usually let you know their preference.

If you are unsure of the contact details for your lecturer - check the relevant Canvas course.

It is also worth noting that during work and travel restrictions, most members of staff will not have access to their office phones and will not be able to run physical office hours.

Getting in touch via Canvas

You can use the Inbox within Canvas to get in touch with lecturers or other students on any of the modules (or courses) you are a member of. For full guidance on how to use your inbox see: How do I use the Inbox as a student?

Contacting peers

Many of the tools overviewed on this page are a great way of keeping in touch with your peers (the other people on your course). We also have a dedicated guide to Online collaboration.

Tools your lecturers may use

The University provides several tools that your lecturers may use to get in touch with you and other people in a module. If you cannot see these tools, it may be because your lecturer has not enabled them. They may have a good reason for this, but feel free to get in touch and ask them. 

Canvas chat

Canvas has the ability to run asynchronous 'chats'. These are similar to the kind of messages you may have used in WhatsApp, WeChat or Facebook Messenger. It allows everyone on a particular Canvas course to post a text message that can be seen by everyone else. This one long stream of messages. If you need help with this tool, see: How do I use Chat as a student?

Canvas discussions

Canvas discussions work just like any other community forum or bulletin board. If enabled, they allow everyone to start a discussion thread that other students can then reply to. There are lots of ways these are used in Canvas, including structured discussions, Q&A and assessments. If you need help with this tool, see How do I view Discussions as a student? and How do I reply to a discussion as a student?

Canvas conferences (BigBlueButton)

BigBlueButton allows synchronous (live) lectures, including audio and screen or video sharing. These can be fully interactive sessions allowing you to connect with lecturers and other students. If you need any help with this, see: How do I use Conferences in a course as a student?

Panopto Live (Webcast)

Panopto allows synchronous (live) lectures, including a basic text chat where you can post comments.


Creative Commons License  The Remote learning SkillsGuide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. See embedded YouTube resources for their terms of distribution.