myAcademics

Where do I start?


How can I access my student information?

myInfo

Most of your student information can be accessed on myInfo - your student information portal. As a recent applicant, you may be familiar with the Applicant tab on myInfo. As a new student, the Student tab will provide you with all the tools and resources you need today and throughout your studies.

Information such as your program, year level, academic standing, and more can be found on myInfo. In addition, there are a number of self-service tools like course registration, requesting a confirmation of enrolment, viewing your grades, requesting an official transcript, requesting a program change, the degree audit tool, and more! We encourage you to visit the Student tab and become familiar with the resources that are available to you!

What is my program of study?

Program of Study

Your program of study will be the one that you accepted in your Offer of Admission. To view your program of study, the best place to look is myInfo.

Once you're on the Student tab of myInfo, under the Academic Profile heading, select the My Program Details & Academic Standing link. On this page, you can find your program under the "Academic Program" heading.

What is a Program Chair/Director/Advisor and how do I connect with them?

Program Chair/Advisor

Your Program Chair/Advisor is an expert in your subject area. They are the representative for your department that you should speak to whenever you have academic related questions. We encourage you to connect with your Program Chair early on in your program, as they can guide you with your program requirements, course registration, as well as provide guidance on where your degree may take you in the future.

To find out who your specific Program Chair/Director and Advisor is, you can access this information in myInfo! On the Student tab, under the Academic Profile heading, select the My Program Details & Academic Standing link. On this page, you can find your Program Chair under the "Advisor Name" heading.

Connecting with your Program Chair/Advisor

Connecting with your Advisor is important to ensure that you are staying on track within your program. Before connecting, you'll want to make sure you know who your Program Chair/Director/Advisor is. To find out who your Program Advisor is, starting from the Student tab in myInfo, under the Academic Profile heading, select the My Program Details & Academic Standing . On this page, you can find your Program Chair under the "Advisor Name" heading. It also lists the email address that you should use to contact them.

If you plan on connecting with your Program Chair/Advisor, we recommend emailing them first, as many Chairs will have specific office hours. In your email, you can introduce yourself, request to set up a meeting, or ask your questions. Program Chairs/Advisors are here to support you with academic advice.

Why do I need to know about the Academic Calendar?

Academic Calendar, Program Requirements & University Regulations

The Academic Calendar is like the curriculum for your program. It outlines the specific courses that you are required to complete in order to obtain your degree. It is important to understand your program requirements, and to follow them closely as you move through your program.

In addition to your specific program requirements, the Academic Calendar contains all regulations (university, faculty, and program regulations), which are additional "rules" or "requirements" when it comes to completing your degree. It also includes important dates, and terms and definitions. We encourage you to become familiar with the academic calendar, because as a student, it becomes your responsibility to understand these terms and regulations and follow them to ensure you are meeting your degree requirements.

Course Registration


Do I register for my courses on my own?

Registration is part of the university experience

You will need to familiarize yourself with your program requirements and register for your courses on your own each year. Please review the information below to help you learn more about how registration works.

How do I register for my courses?

Important registration dates

Registration for the 2020/21 academic year will begin near the end of June and continues to open throughout the beginning of July. You will receive an email prior to the opening of your registration date to let you know when you can start registering for your courses.

As a first year student, you will be able to register on June 20th. Registration will open at 9:00 am. Prior to that date, you should be reviewing your program requirements, including your first year course requirements in the Academic Calendar. We also encourage you to check out the courses and start to build your timetable using the Build My Pre-Registration Tool in myInfo.

Registering for your courses

Registration is made easy using the Build My Pre-Registration tool in myInfo. It is like a shopping cart where you can view the courses and start building your own timetable for the academic year.

At university, you will build your own timetable based on the requirements for your program. We encourage you to make use of the Registrtaion Guide when planning your timetable and ultimately registering for your courses.

Which courses should I sign up for?

Academic Calendar

Selecting the correct courses during the registration process is important and vital in keeping you on track with your program and ultimately your future graduation.

To determine which courses you should register for, we recommend that you use the Undergraduate Program Requirements Guide. This guide will walk you through the Academic Calendar to find your specific program requirements for the program you're enroled in.

Major Requirements

When it comes to registering for your courses, it's most important to register for your major requirements. These are most commonly the courses that contribute to your major average, and are specialized within your area of study. For example, if you are enroled in a Sociology program, your major requirement courses would consist mostly, if not all, of Sociology (or SOCI-) courses.

Other Requirements

After you've registered for your major requirement courses, it's important to register for the "other" course requirements within your program. In most cases, students are required to take courses found outside of their discipline to ensure a well-rounded program of study. This may include a language requirement (like an English course), specific type courses (like Type A - Humanities, Type B - Social Sciences, etc.), or the Type E - Indigenous Content requirement for all Lakehead students. The "other" program requirements are also necessary to complete your program requirements and graduate.

What is considered a full course load?

A full course load depends on which context it's being considered.

The number of courses you take can determine whether you are a "full-time" student or a "part-time" student. This may have implications on eligibility to continue in a program, eligibility for financial aid and funding, as well as eligibility to withdraw funds from a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

Depending on the context in which you are considering full-time and part-time studies, the course load requirements differ.

Full-time with respect to Lakehead University

Lakehead University recognizes you as a part-time student if you are registered in the fall/winter terms (September to April) in 3.5 Full Course Equivalents (FCEs) or less. If you are registered in more than 3.5 FCEs over the fall and winter terms combined, you would be considered a full-time student.

In general, there are not many differences between being considered a full- or part-time student, however, it does impact how you are billed. In particular, when you are registered as a part-time student, you are billed per course. In contrast, when you are a full-time student, you are billed a flat rate. For more information on this, we recommend connecting with the Accounts Receivable office at accounts@lakeheadu.ca.

Financial Aid

When it comes to OSAP, being considered "full-time" is different from being a "full-time" student at Lakehead.

In order to be considered "full-time" for financial aid purposes (e.g. OSAP), you must be registered in a 60% course load, which, at Lakehead, equates to 1.5 FCEs per term (i.e. from September to December, and/or January to April).

Study Permits and Visas

As a student with a study permit and visa, there are a number of conditions you will need to meet and maintain.

International Students should maintain full time status while in Canada. Falling to part time status may impact your ability to work while studying, and after graduation. Check in with our regulated International Student Immigration Advisor to ensure you are not impacting your visa or study permit. For more information on immigration and visa documentation or how to make an appointment visit the website at https://www.lakeheadu.ca/international/online-community#immigration.

What is a required course and what are my elective options?

Required Courses versus Electives

Some courses are required specifically for your program, however you may also have the freedom to choose your elective requirements. This provides you with an opportunity to explore new areas of interest or dive deeper into particular subjects you enjoy.

Required Courses

A required course is a specific course that is a requirement for your program. A required course may be very specific (e.g. PSYC-1100), or it could be a specific type of course (e.g. 0.5 FCE's in English as the first year level). Required courses will be indicated within your program requirements in the Academic Calendar.

Elective Requirements

An elective requirement allows you to choose the course you wish to take. We recommend that you choose courses that interest you, and that may fall outside of your specific area of study. As long as you meet the prerequisite and/or other requirements to take a course, you can select any course to count as an elective requirement. These will be denoted as "open electives" within the Academic Calendar.

Regulations Matter - Keep your first year credit count in mind.

For the majority of programs at Lakehead, you are allowed to take a maximum of 7.0 FCEs at the first year level (these are courses with course codes starting with "1" e.g. ECON 1100. Some programs have specific exceptions to this, and may allow for more. In any case, it is important that when choosing your electives throughout your studies, you do not take too many courses at the first year level. That being said, if it's your first year, we recommend taking electives at the first year level.

Are electives important to me?

Electives are important in satisfying the elective requirements of your program. Without them, you may not have a well-rounded experience, and would be short on credits to graduate. We recommend selecting elective requirements that interest you.

What about transferring my past college/university credits?

Transfer Credits

If you are coming to Lakehead with prior post-secondary experience, some of your past course credits could potentially be applied towards your new Lakehead program of study. We call these credits "Advanced Standing".

How do I know if I have received transfer credits?

To determine if you've received transfer credits (or advanced standing), the first step is going to your myInfo portal and accessing the Applicant tab. From the Applicant tab, select the View My Transfer Credit link and you can see your Advanced Standing. This will provide you with a list of all credits that have been approved by Lakehead to be applied towards your new program(s) here at Lakehead.

Once you are eligible to register, you can also use the My Unofficial Transcript (Final marks) link under the Grades & Transcript heading on the Student tab in myInfo to view a listing of all your advanced standing credits.

If you don't see any advanced standing in either of those places, there could be a number of things to consider. First, Transfer Credit Assessments can take a number of weeks as departments must be consulted to determine the equivalency of each course that is being considered as a transfer credit. If you've recently submitted your transcripts and/or course descriptions, it may simply take some time for the Admissions team to complete the assessment. On the other hand, if you've submitted all your documentation to Admissions and haven't heard within a few weeks, don't hesitate to reach out to Student Central so that they can look into it further!

How can I use transfer credits?

Transfer credits can be used in a number of ways, and typically work best to satisfy elective requirements. If you receive transfer credits, it is likely that they will automatically fit into your elective requirements. That being said, if you receive specific courses as a transfer credit or as advanced standing, they may also satisfy some of your major or other requirements for your program. We recommend connecting with your Chair and Student Central to identify the best use of your transfer credits.

I really want to take a course but it says I need "special permission". What is special permission and how do I get it?

Special Permission is required when you do not meet one or more of the requirements to take a course. For instance, this may come into effect if you are not in the required program, year level, or if you lack the specific prerquisites to take the course.

How to Request Special Permission

To request Special Permission, you will need to go through the normal registration process, up until it stops you from fully registering. Through the process, once you are faced with the error message indicating you do not meet all of the requirements to take the course, a message will indicate that you must request special permission for the course. With this message, a "Click Here" button will appear that will take you through the special permission process.

What do I do after submitting a Special Permission request?

After submitting a Special Permission request, it will automatically be sent to the appropriate Chairs/Deans/Program Advisors to review your request. If you are approved to take the course despite lacking all the prerequisite requirements, you will be notified through your Lakehead email that you can proceed with registering for the course. Please note that being approved does not automatically register you, and you must complete this process following approval from all Chairs.

Can I take an unlimited number of courses?

You will have a maximum number of courses that you can register for based on your program requirements in the Academic Calendar. If you are interested in going beyond the specified number of courses, that is considered a course overload. In most cases, you will be restricted to taking no more than 5.0 FCEs (i.e. 5 courses per term).

Is it beneficial to go into course overload?

We recommend that you reflect on what might be best for you academically when considering going into course overload. Keep in mind that in addition to the 3 hours of lecture per week, you can assume that there will be an additional 9 hours of work associated with that course outside of lecture times (to complete readings, work on assignments, etc.). In general, course overload is not recommended. However if this is something you feel would benefit you in the long run, you can request this through the Special Permission process.

How do I request course overload?

To request course overload, you would follow the same process as the Special Permission request process. The only thing to note is that an additional step is required in select course overload within the request.

Are there rules about taking courses or are they open to everyone?

Some courses are restricted for students within certain programs, at certain year levels, or for other reasons.

In general, courses can have a variety of restrictions. Specifically, courses can require you to be in a certain program, at a certain year level, or have completed certain prerequisites prior to registering.

Where can I get help with course registration?

Student Central is your One-Stop for Registration!

For help with registration, connect with the Student Central team. Student Central can assist you with any registration questions, help you understand your program requirements and options, navigate the Academic Calendar, as well as discuss any issues.

Student Central can help diagnose any problems that you might encounter through the registration process. If it's your first time registering, Student Central can also provide you the tools and guidance to register for all of your courses. Student Central is a great place to start as the team will also empower you to create your own timetable and learn to work through the registration process for future years!

I heard about Fast Pass, what is it?

Fast Pass

Fast Pass is a pre-orientation program designed to help incoming students learn about course registration, program details, and university life.

During Fast Pass, you'll be able to register for classes, understand program requirements, learn about academic expectations, discover your next steps, learn about financial aid, awards, and payment options, and meet with staff and students can can answer your many questions!

Some of my courses are online, how do I connect and when?

Connecting in online courses

Student studying in libraryIf some of your courses are online, how you connect will depend on the type of course.

Overall, for online courses, you will be able to tell from the timetable how you will connect. Some courses connect at specific days and times online, while others have no specific meeting times.

Can I drop a course if I don't want to stay in it?

Dropping courses

You can drop a course as long as it is dropped by the deadline outlined in the Academic Calendar.

It is important to note that there is a difference between academic and financial drop dates. Dropping a course can have different implications so we recommend seeking the advice from Student Central before proceeding with that decision.

Final Date to Withdrawl (Drop)

The Final Date to Withdrawl (Drop) are the dates you will need to follow if you are considering dropping a course. These dates are different for each academic term. After this date, you cannot drop the class and must complete the course. The grade you receive for the course will appear on your transcript and can have implications on your future progress in your program. If you're having difficulties with a course, we recommend you speak with your instructor to see what options may exist to help you get back on track. If you're considering dropping the course, arrrange to speak with Student Central.

The Final Date to Withdrawl (Drop) dates are in the Academic Calendar under Important Dates.

Financial Drop Dates

Financial Drop dates are something to consider as well, as they determine if you get a refund, and for how much.

In most cases, there are a number of financial drop dates that determine the refund you would receive (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% refund) so it is important to keep these dates in mind when considering a drop. A potential refund of fees will also be affected by whether you are a full- or part-time student. In all cases, we recommend that you connect with the Accounts Receivable office at accounts@lakeheadu.ca for more information.

Permits and Visas

Your courseload may impact your ability to work while studying, and after graduation. Check in with our regulated International Student Immigration Advisor to ensure you are not impacting your visa or study permit. For more information on immigration and documentation or how to make an appointment visit the website.

Dropping Program Requirements

Keep in mind, if you drop a course that is a specific program requirement, it will need to be taken at another time. If you are considering this or if you are unsure how it will affect you, it is always best to check and ask first!

Can I add a course that I want to take and do I have to do it by a certain date?

Adding courses

Just like Final Date to Withdrawl (Drop) dates, there are also final dates to register for courses for each academic term.

It is recommended that you carefully select your courses and register as early as possible to ensure the best course selection. It is always best to register before the course begins in order to ensure you do not miss out on the first day introduction, content and course work. After a certain point in the term, you will not be allowed to register for any additional courses, these dates can be found in the Academic Calendar under Important Dates.

Can I talk to my instructors before the course starts or before I register?

Early conversations with instructors

You can absolutely reach out to instructors prior to classes starting - we recommend using the Faculty & Staff Directory to find the contact information for your instructor.

Navigating Program Options


What do I do if I am unsure about the program I have chosen?

Choosing your Program

If you are still considering if the program you selected is right for you, it's okay! Lakehead offers over 65 programs of study at the undergraduate level for you to choose from.

Whether you are considering a different version of your program within the same subject area or a completely different focus, the Student Central team can help you explore what programs may work best for you based on your interest and future goals. You can start by checking out our programs here https://www.lakeheadu.ca/programs/undergraduate-programs.

Can I work towards more than one degree?

Lakehead Offers Many Degree Options

If you're interested in working towards more than one degree, that is definitely a possibility. In particular, we offer a wide variety of double-major programs, as well as double-degree programs.

Double Major

Through a double major program, you receive one degree. However, you are recognized for having two majors. Essentially, this identifies your expertise in both areas, and is included on your transcript and parchment upon graduation.

Double Degree

Within a double degree program, you actually work towards completing two separate degees at the same time. In these cases, the courses are specifically selected to work with eachother to count towards both requirements when possible, and these options can still be completed in the same length of time as other single degree options.

Consider a Concurrent Education Program

Concurrent EducationIf you haven't already done so, you may want to consider pairing your major with an Education degree. This provides you with both a degree within your field, as well as a Bachelor of Education, qualifying you to teach at the Primary/Junior (grades K - 6) or Intermediate/Senior (grades 7 - 12) levels. These programs can be completed in 5 - 6 years depending on your partnering degree.

How can I add to my degree (e.g. minor, concentration)?

Adding to your degree

Adding on to your degree can be a great way to specialize in a specific area within your field, or to add on another area of study. Whether you want to add a second major, or consider a specialization, concentfration, or a minor, there are tons of options that help you explore other disciplines. In addition, in many cases, concentrations, specializations, minors, and even second majors can be added on without increasing your overall program length - this is something to check with your Program Advisor, as well as with Student Central!

In cases where you wish to add on a concentration, specialization, etc., it is important to check the Academic Calendar to see if the combination you're looking for is offered. In particular, our double majors, concentrations, specializations, and minors are indicated in the Academic Calendar under their respective departments. For example, if you are registered in a Sociology program but wish to pursue a Minor is Psychology, you would look for the minor under the Psychology Department's program offerings. Similarly, if you are looking for a specialization or concentration, you would check under the department offering the accompanying major.

In any case, we encourage you to build your degree using some of the above options, as they can set you apart following your studies. If you're interested in adding one of the above options to your program, chat with your Advisor to discuss the specifics and how it might affect your current program.

Major

For an Honours or Bachelors program, a minimum of 8.0 FCEs are required for the major. In general, a major is your primary area of study, and will be referenced on the parchment and transcript. If you are in a single-major program and wish to add a major, check the Academic Calendar to see if a double major is offered for the two majors you're considering.

Minor

A minor is a defined collection of courses, different from the major, which can be taken within an Honours or 4-Year Bachelors program. A minor consists of a minimum of 3.0 FCEs, different from, and in addition to, the courses in the major. A minimum average of 60% is required for the minor, but may be higher in some cases. In general, a student can only obtain 1 minor, however exceptions to this should be discussed with the Dean of your program. Minors are referenced on the transcript, but they are not included on the parchment.

Concentration

A concentration is a defined collection of courses that is embedded into and complements an Honours or 4-Year Bachelors program. A minimum of 5.0 FCEs are required for a concentration with a minimum of 2.0 FCEs at the 3rd year level or higher. A minimum cumulative average of 70% is required for the concentration is an Honours program, and a 60% is required for a 4-Year Bachelors program.

Specialization

A specialization is defined as a collection of courses taken from a particular or variety of disciplines that complement the major. It consists of a minimum of 2.5 FCEs at the 2nd year level or higher. Courses taken as part of the major may count towards the specialization. The specialization is referenced on the transcript, but not the parchment.

Graduation


How will I know when I am close to graduation?

Getting ready to graduate

You are close to graduation when you are in the last 5.0 FCE (equivalent to a 100% course load for one year) for your program.

Once you have entered your last year of study, watch for announcements on myInfo, social media, and emails sent to your Lakehead email account letting you know it's time to submit your Intent to Graduate or to attend Graduation Fair!

Where can I see my academic progress to track my way to graduation?

Use the Degree Audit as a planning tool

To help you check how you are progressing in your program, you have access to the Degree Audit tool found in myInfo. This tool will allow you to see how you are doing compared to the requirements for your program.

The Degree Audit tool shows you your program requirements and how the courses you have taken/registered for are meeting your program requirements. This tool is a very important guide. to help you stay on track and plan accordingly. If you need help understandig your Degree Audit or have questions, please contact us at Student Central.

Where can I find my grades?

Your final grades for each of your courses can be found on myInfo or on D2L.

Depending on your professor or instructor's preferences, your grades may be found on either D2L (in the Grades section of the course's D2L site) or on myInfo under the Grades & Transcript heading on your Student tab.

Keep the Timely Feedback Regulation in Mind

As a student you have the right to receive timely feedback. As per the University Regulation, found in the Academic Calendar, students should have 25% of their mark back by the drop deadline for a single-term course, and 30% of their mark back by the drop deadline for a full-year course.

How do I find the Deadline to Withdrawl (Drop) a course?

You can find the add and drop deadlines for your courses in the Important Dates section of the Academic Calendar. As a student, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these dates.

Will someone let me know if I am doing something wrong?

The importance of understanding your degree requirements

As a student at Lakehead University, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with your program requirements, as well as your academic and non-academic expectations. This information can be found in the Academic Calendar and on our Student Conduct webpage.

Student meeting with advisorWhile it is your responsibility to know what your program requirements are and how to meet them, we are here to help! Student Central and/or your Program Chair/Advisor are available to help you navigate your program requirements and registration.

Academic Standing

Each year your Program Chair will evaluate your progress through your program and release your Academic Standing.

Your Academic Standing tells you if you are on the right track, meeting requirements, or if you may need some additional support, such as course selection advice, concerns about your major average, etc. Your Academic Standing will be sent to your Lakehead University email address each June following the most recent academic year (Fall/Winter terms).

What should I be aware of to be ready to graduate when the time comes?

Intent to Graduate

It may seem far away now but in no time you'll be getting ready to graduate. You will need to let us know you are planning to graduate and would like to be assessed for graduation from your program. This process is called the "intent to graduate". Lakehead University graduates students twice a year, in the Fall and in the Spring.

You can find the Intent to Graduate under the Graduation & Convocation heading on your myInfo. The Spring graduation session is for students who have completed all degree requirements by the end of the Winter term prior to the Spring graduation date; this Intent to Graduate is typically available in December/January. The Fall graduation session is for students who complete degree requirements by the end of the Spring/Summer term prior to the Fall graduation date; this Intent to Graduate is typically available in mid-July.

Program Requirements for Graduation

To keep on track and ensure you are meeting your programs requirements, we recommend reaching out to Student Central and/or your Program Chair/Advisor for academic advising.

Each year, it is a good idea to check in with Student Central and/or your Program Chair/Advisor to make sure you are on track towards meeting your program requirements and preparing for graduation.

Graduation Fair

Preparing to graduate with your Lakehead degree in hand is an exciting time!

When the time has come for you to graduate, you can join us at the annual Grad Fair to get ready for your special day, as well as to see what supports are available after graduation. Here you will be able to explore post-graduate programs at Lakehead University and find resources for securing a job!

First Day of Classes


What to expect?

Your first day

Your first day of university studies will be filled with different emotions and different experiences. Each of your courses will be different whether it be a different instructor, mode of delivery, expectations and more!

Be technologically prepared

Be sure to know the technological requirements for any of your courses. Familiarize yourself with the different software that may be needed in order to adapt to technical requirements and file formats, especially MyCourselink. We've developed a MyCourselink orientation course for you to try out and help familiarize yourself to the learning environment!
Login to mycourselink.lakeheadu.ca to get to know it! Check your Lakehead email for communication from professors regarding class and follow the instructions. Also, make sure you read your emails all the way to the end so that you have all the important information. Before the first class meeting, log into myCourselink for details regarding each course. Your courses may have an online discussion component where you can post questions and chat with your classmates. Sometimes the discussion forums are for marks, read your syllabus to find out. Review your syllabus before class and ask your professor any questions that you have.

Review your timetable

Your courses could be in-person, online at a set schedule, or online at your own pace. Review your timetable to ensure you are prepared and available for your courses - it is up to you to know how your courses are being delivered, so pay close attention and reach out to your instructor if you are unsure or have questions. It is best to do this before your first day so you are well prepared!

Arrive early

If your course is on campus, schedule enough time to make your way to the location of your class.

The first day of classes is always a busy one. Whether you are walking to campus, driving and parking orr taking public transportation, make a plan the night before to ensure you arrive on campus early. This will help to ensure you have enough time to find your class location and get settled before your instructor arrives. It is also a great time to meet other students too!

Understanding a course syllabus

The course syllabus and its contents are so important for you to review and understand! It provides you with pertinent information you need to know about the course.

  1. Review your syllabus. Scan for details right away like course dates/times, contact information for your professor, required textbooks, due dates, and grading schemes.
  2. Get a calendar that works for you (Google calendar, an agenda, or an erasable one) and begin to mark down all assignment due dates, test dates, and weekly required readings listed in your syllabus. Once you have all of your classes' information on the calendar, you can begin to create a realistic study schedule that you can commit to weekly.
  3. Understand the marking scheme. Review each assignment, test, paper, etc. so you know how much they are worth. Some professors will include “participation marks” which means you can earn marks by attending class and participating in discussions and group sessions.

Academic Expectations


What is academic integrity and why does it matter?

Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect and Responsibility

All members of the University community share the responsibility of upholding the academic standards and reputation of the University.

Academic integrity is a commitment to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility all of which are central to the respect for academic principles and behaviours that support the University’s mission. Adherence to these fundamental values is essential for you to earn academic credit in all courses, whether offered on- or off-campus, online, or as placements, practicums or internships. A degree from Lakehead University is a respected credential. The university protects the integrity of its degrees by ensuring each student completes the work demonstrating the knowledge represented by that degree. Academic integrity is essential to your learning and to the credibility of each degree. Lakehead University takes academic honesty and academic integrity seriously.

Do I need to go to every class/what does participation mean?

Classroom Attendance & Participation

You should make every effort to attend class. While many instructors don't take attendance, by not attending class the only person who will be at a disadvantage is you!

Students listening to lectureNot only is attending class and actively participating helpful for learning the course material, it is also important for establishing connections with your instructors and peers. When you're looking for a study group or need some extra help, having a network with these types of connections is key. In some of your courses, you might actually find your professors includes marks for participation. Participating in class means showing up with the required readings/assignments finished, sharing any thoughts and asking questions you had, and posting in the online discussion forum if applicable to your class.

How much do I have to do outside of class?

Time Management and Your Courseload

Generally speaking, you will need to spend about 2-3 hours per week, outside of class, for every 1 hour of in-class time.

For example, if you have a weekly 3 hour lecture, you would likely spend about 6 to 9 hours per week on that course. However, this will entirely depend on the expectations of your classes, your specific program, as well as how efficient you are.

Some weeks you may not have many hours of work if you have managed to stay ahead of schedule, while other weeks you may need to put in more hours in order to catch up. A good habit to get into is to develop a schedule that allows for ample time to complete research and assignments, study for tests and exams, complete required readings, and balances with personal time like exercise, relaxation, proper eating habits, and sleep.

How do I communicate with my instructors?

Best Practices For Communicating with Faculty Members and Instructors.

The best way to communicate with your instructor is by sending a professional and courteous email.

Always begin your email with a polite greeting (such as “Hello _____” or “Dear Professor ______”) and include a subject line that states your course code and accurately reflects your key message (e.g. Subject: ENGI 1100 - Assignment 2 Question). Many professors read emails on their mobile devices so be brief and specific. This will help the reader respond quickly and to the real focus of your email. Save your message as a draft, check for errors, and double-check the correct spelling of names, especially your instructor’s!

7 c's of communication

How will I know if I am doing well?

Gauging My Success

Everyone's version of "success" looks different. For some students, success means high marks. For other students, it means accomplishing a list of daily goals.

In order to continue in your program, however, you do need to maintain good academic standing. Your academic standing keeps you informed of your academic progress and controls whether or not you are able to register for the next academic year. For more information on academic standing, click here. It is important to recognize if you are struggling and reach out early to give yourself enough time to remedy the situation.

What do I do if I am struggling?

Academic Supports

It is important to remember that Lakehead has many resources and supports that are available to you.

If you are struggling with course content you should first reach out to your professor; however, it is important to remember that everyone’s priorities are different! Give your professor as much time as you can to respond to you about important information, like due dates and assignment questions. If your question needs an immediate response and your course has an online discussion component, post the question to your classmates.

Tutoring and Writing Supports

The Academic Support Zone provides free peer tutoring and writing support. You can book an appointment for writing assistance to support the development of your essays and assignments and access the virtual tutoring schedule on MySuccess.

Academic Skills

The Student Success Centre is committed to helping you with academic skills such as time management, using your textbooks effectively, and study skills. You can book an appointment with a Student Success Advisor via MySuccess for support. You can also access online resources like a five-day study plan, preparing for tests and exams, and study strategies by visiting lakeheadu.ca/tutoring and scrolling down to “Academic Success Resources”.

Academic Accommodations

To access academic accommodations you can email Student Accessibility Services at sas@lakeheadu.ca for Thunder Bay Campus and oraccess@lakeheadu.ca for the Orillia Campus. Check out this checklist to guide you through the process including collecting supporting documentation.
Student Checklist
Medical Documentation Form

Research supports

Lakehead University Library hosts many resources and supports to help be successful in your academics. If you are struggling in finding information and resources for a paper or assignment, they can help with online search tools, interlibrary loans and reserach consultations. For more information click on this link:

https://libguides.lakeheadu.ca/home?b=g&d=a&group_id=14982

If you have any questions throughout your studies they have a great feature on their website where you can chat with a librarian!

Academic Supports


Who do I ask for what?

Knowing who to ask for what is tough, especially when you don't know what you don't know! In general, we encourage you to connect with Student Central, as their holistic model allows their cross-trained Student Central Professionals to assist you in anything from Admissions, Academic Advising, Records & Registration, to Student Awards & Financial Aid. If a Student Central Professional can't answer your question directly, they are still a great first place to ask, as they can guide you in finding the right place to go.

If you're not sure where to go, we also encourage you to check out our Student Referral Guide. This can help you determine who to reach out to, however, if you're not sure, connect with Student Central and they can point you in the right direction!

What do I do if I have a disability/medical condition that may affect my educational studies at Lakehead?

Student Accessibility Services

Student Accessibility Services will work with you to determine reasonable academic accommodations to support your documented disability(s) and/or medical condition(s).

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff are committed to working collaboratively to develop strategies to support a successful learning experience for you while maintaining the academic standards and integrity of the University. We offer a supportive atmosphere where our services are delivered in a respectful, confidential manner. Registering with Student Accessibility Services and receiving academic accommodations while at Lakehead University will not be reflected on your official university records, test results, academic transcripts or graduation documentation.

What is a disability/medical condition?

A disability and or medical condition can be temporary or permanent. It can be visible or non-visible. Nearly 1 in 5 Canadians between the ages of 15-64 reported having a disablity (Statistics Canada 2017)

Disabilities and medical conditions that could impact your education would be a very long list. To give you a general idea it may include but is not limited to: physical, medical, cognitive, auditory, vision, and mental health. Student Accessibilities Services Non-Visible Disability poster gives you an idea of some disabilities you can not see. If you are wondering about whether your disability or medical condition may be supported with academic accommodations make an appointment to talk to one of our accessibility advisors.

Academic Accommodations

Accommodations are provided on an individual basis, based on documentation supporting your disability(s) and or medical condition(s) and a meeting (inperson or virtual) with an SAS advisor.

Accommodations are meant to remove barriers and level the playing field while meeting the essential requirements and maintaining the academic integrity of the University course or program. Accommodations for on campus and or online lectures may include note takers, recording of lectures, and text in alternate format. On campus and or online test and exam accommodations may include extra time, alternate setting, and the use of assistive devices. Your path to arranging accommodations is through Student Accessibility Services.

Getting started with your academic accommodations

To access academic accommodations you can email Student Accessibility Services at sas@lakeheadu.ca for Thunder Bay Campus and oraccess@lakeheadu.ca for the Orillia Campus.

To help you prepare to access academic accommodations, Student Accessibility Services has a very helpful checklist to guide you through the process including collecting supporting documentation.

Student Checklist
Medical Documentation Form

We have also developed a Transition Planner to help you in your transition to University. It has all the information you'll need.

Are professors available to help if I have questions?

Office hours

Professors at Lakehead University offer office hours when they will be available to speak with you.

Student meeting with professorOffice hours mean that during this allotted time the professor is available to speak with you. Times are generally identified on a course syllabus. Should they not be identified, reach out to your instructor.

Getting ready to attend office hours

Be prepared!

It is always a good idea to send your professor an email prior to coming to office hours, letting them you know you will be there. This ensures that they will stick around the entire duration of the office hours. If you live in a differnt time zone, let your professor know the details when you reach out so that they can align your request with their schedule.

It is also important to arrive on time to give yourself enough time to ask all the questions you need to (you don’t want to show up with 5 minutes left of their office time!).

Prior to meeting with your professor, ensure you have a couple questions written down that you would like to ask. This lets the professor know that you are eager to succeed in their class.

Attending office hours

Take notes!

Bring a piece of paper or a device to take notes on, you don’t want to forget the information that your professor has shared with you. Plus, this will make
you look very organized!

Let your professor speak. You may be very eager to get all your questions out but it is important to be respectful and to listen what they have to say, it will probably be helpful!

Thank your professor for helping you with difficult course material and for taking time out of their day to speak with you. They will appreciate this. 

Email Etiquette/What to Ask

Sending a well thought out email allows for a good first impression!

Tips for writing an email to your professor

1. Use your Lakehead University email
2. Check your syllabus before emailing...Is the answer to your question there?
3. Address your professor appropriately (Dear Professor ________, Dr. ________)
4. Provide enough background information (Your full name, course code/section)
5. Be clear and to the point
6. Use proper language, spelling and grammar
7. Acknowledge your gratitude ("Thank you for your help!")
8. Read through your email before sending it to ensure it makes sense and is gramatically correct

Asking your professor a question

Knowing what types of questions are appropriate to ask your professor is important! Here are some sample questions to get you started...

"I am having trouble with (insert specific course material topic), are there any additional resources available to support me?"

"I have a couple questions regarding (insert specific course material topics), is there a time this week that you would be able to meet to discuss?"

"I didn't do as well on the midterm as I hoped, would we be able to meet and review where I went wrong? I would like to improve my grade for next time."

"I am looking for an opportunity to be involved in research, is there a time this week that we could meet to discuss current research happening within the department?"

"The drop date for the course is approaching and I didn't do as well on the first midterm as I would have liked, would we be able to meet to discuss my continuation in this course?"

How accessible are tutors and writing supports?

Tutoring services

Tutoring services and writing supports are available to you!

The Academic Support Zone (ASZ) is pleased to offer free academic support to all students. Undergraduate group tutoring and writing assistance take place on a set weekday schedule. Log in to MySuccess to access the tutoring schedule or to book an appointment with a Writing Coach. If you're looking for research assistance before you meet with a Writing Coach, you can book a research consultation with a Liaison Librarian. They can help you find what you need specific to your program.

How can LUSU help me?

LUSU Support for Appeals and Complaints

If you feel like you have been treated unfairly, are you being taken advantage of or have you been denied your right to accommodations - we are here to help!

University life can be overwhelming. We’re here to help you find your way through the University bureaucracy and make sure you stay on the path to success. If you think your rights have been violated, we’re here to help you when you need it. Email us at vpa@lusu.ca if you're studying at the Thunder Bay campus or vporillia@lusu.ca for Orillia campus.

Academic Skills


What can I do to improve my study skills?

Effective Note Taking

Learning how to create good class notes and using them to properly study is a very important skillset.

We recommend using the Cornell Note-Taking System to create useful notes during lectures & class discussions, while reading journal articles, or when watching videos.

Before class, it is a good idea to preview what your professor is going to be teaching.

  • Doing your assigned readings before class sets you up for success by giving you a chance to know some of the material before it is taught.
  • Reading before class also exposes you to new words and ideas before your professor talks about them in class. You will be more ready to join in the discussion and contribute to class.

When you get to class, bring your notebook and pens.

  • Taking notes by hand, rather than by typing, tends to provide better results. Don't worry that you can't write as fast as you type, because this forces you to rephrase what the professor says and this helps the information stay in your memory.
  • Sit near the front and in the middle of the room. In class, open your notebook and set up your page in three sections like the Cornell Notes Infographic shows.
  • Use the note-taking column to record what the instructor is saying. Write as fast as you can and record as much as you can. Don't worry if it is messy, you will revisit it later to clean it up.
  • Quickly sketch any diagrams or graphs your instructor describes. Use the cue column to record your thoughts, questions, connections you notice. This is also a good place to put notes and reminders to yourself about ideas you want to look up later.

After class, review and summarize your notes.

  • Reviewing and summarizing your notes is the single most important step in making proper use of your class notes. Within 24 hours of the lecture, take some time to read and summarize your class notes
  • When you are summarizing, be sure not to copy, rephrase instead. This is an active way to engage with the material and putting the content into your own words helps you remember it more effectively than copying does. Summarizing the content into less space also helps ensure you understand and remember it.
  • The final step in making good use of your notes is reviewing them weekly. Every time you sit down to summarize your new notes, read and quiz yourself on your summaries from other weeks. Frequent review keeps information fresh in your mind and makes you more ready for exams.
  • Visit the Student Success Centre’s Academic Resource Library for more detailed information.

Multiple Choice Tests

Multiple choice tests can be tricky. Knowing what can expect can help.

What are multiple choice tests?
These are tests with statements or questions followed by various options that answer them. You have to select the best answer from the options provided.

Things to consider:

  • Tests can be long and require extra focus in carefully reading through each question
  • It is important to evaluate each answer and not just pick the first one
  • There are generally two choices that look right so it can be difficult to decide
  • Multiple choice questions can actually test you on complex material so make sure you find out your instructors expectations and study accordingly
How can I manage my time better?

Time Management Skills

Managing your time is an extremely important skill for creating academic success.

Prioritize
Prioritizing means being aware of, and finding a way to balance, the different areas in your life. The more emphasis you can put on important areas like long-term projects, self-care, and major assignments, the lower your stress level will be and the more effective you will be.

When prioritizing, be careful not to confuse urgency with importance. Urgent tasks often feel important but aren't. Spending time and effort on important, long-term tasks helps you avoid having to scramble to complete tasks at the last minute.

Start by writing down all of your major tasks for the upcomoing month, or even semester. Make sure you include all parts of your life: school, work, health, social, family, etc.. Each week, build a weekly list of priorities, based on your monthly plan. Assign tasks to blocks of time in each day. Decide ahead of time what you are going to work on each morning, afternoon and evening of the upcoming week.

Setting goals & planning ahead
Set daily goals each morning, or in the evening for the next day. Planning tasks ahead of time allows you to focus on doing the work, not on deciding what to work on. The type of calendar you use is up to you. Some people prefer digital calendars like Google Calendar (you have a free one with your MyEmail account and your classes are pre-populated in it), others prefer paper and pens, some people like dry-erase calendars (especially for monthly/semester plans).The last, essential piece of time management is eliminating distractions.

Do not try to multi-task
Turn off your social media notifications and put your phone in another room. Give yourself a 10-minute break every hour to do things like check your messages. Keep only the materials for the subject you are currently working on open on your computer or sitting on your desk. This allows you to focus on your goals for the day and sets you up to feel good about what you've accomplished at the end of the day. If you get distracted and don't accomplish everything on your list, that's okay, don't give up.

Good time management takes time and practice. If you keep working at it, eventually it will become a habit.

For more information check out this resource.

What is critical thinking?

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an important skill that you will further develop in your university education. It involves thinking rationally about what to believe and do.

Students working in labIn order to think critically, you need to ask the right questions when reading others work, show that you are able to present multiple arguments and display evidence to help form your opinion. Ultimately, critical thinking is learning and thinking with an open mind.

Practicing Critical Thinking

  1. Generate a list of questions you have about the topic you are learning about.
  2. Give yourself time to reflect on what you are learning.
  3. As you read your textbook or notes, make notes with your thoughts and impressions of the text.
  4. Speak with your professor, classmates, friends and family about their perspectives on your issue.
  5. Take time to distinguish the different persepctives.
  6. Evaluate the evidence you have found. 

Benefits of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking will help you...

  • interpret evidence, data, arguements and be able to identify the significance of your assignment questions
  • develop well-reasoned arguments
  • Use and draw on arguements to justify your ideas
  • synthesize your thoughts
 How can I learn better online?

 Online Learning Strategies

Online can be a very fulfilling experience if you have the right approach.

Here are some tips to help you get the most our of your virtual classroom experience:

Tip 1: Be ready to work hard and participate, just like in a standard classroom environment. If you come to class having already done the readings for the week and participate in class discussions, you will not only learn more and get better marks, you will also create a richer learning environment for your classmates. Working hard in an online course means a few things. First, it means reading, a lot! When your professor gives you access to the course site, read everything you can find on the site, especially the syllabus (you'll actually need to read this several times). Working hard also means knowing what is expected of you and keeping up with course materials. Many instructors release information a bit at a time over the course of a semester. Do your readings and weekly assignments as soon as they are released if you can.

Tip 2: Be organized, even more than you would need to for an in-person class. Use the course schedule (found in your syllabus or MyCourselink site) to know what you will need to read for each class, when your quizzes and exams are and when assignments are due. Add all of these dates to your monthly/semester plan before the course begins. Read and understand the assignments, make a list of questions to ask your instructor.

Tip 3: Treat it like a job! Decide what your work hours are going to be and don't schedule anything else during those times. When your classes are in person, you are given a schedule based on lecture and lab times. When you are learning online, you have to make your own schedule.

Tip 4: If your instructor does lectures online, make sure you attend them. Some instructors will post recordings of their lectures, review these. Take notes (use the Cornell Notes method!) during online or recorded lectures and review them often.

Tip 5: Participate in class discussions. In most online courses you can't just talk in class. Class discussions take place in the discussion forums built into the course site in MyCourselink (D2L). Participating in these discussions will help you in multiple ways. First, there are often marks given for participating. Find this information in your syllabus. Second, it will help you learn and understand the course material better as well as ask questions of your instructor and classmates. Finally, participating in class discussions is a way to get to know your classmates and build relationships, which can be especially challenging in an online environment.

Tip 6: Reach out for help! All of the learning supports Lakehead provides to students on campus are available to students learning online as well. Book appointments with writing coaches and Student Success Advisors using mysuccess.lakeheadu.ca. Ask your instructors and Teaching Assistants questions about course content. Attend virtual tutoring and group study sessions through the Academic Support Zone. We are here to help you succeed!

 How can I be successful in online group work?

Online Group Work Strategies

Group work can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding.

Here are tips and pointers to help your group work experiences be positive and successful:

Tip 1: Communicate! Decide as a group how you are going to communicate and stick to it. Some groups use email, some use Facebook groups, others prefer to use the comments feature Google Docs, while still others want to meet face to face (or through Zoom). How you communicate is much less important than making sure you do communicate!

Tip 2: Decide together on your goals and plan out a process for sharing workload and getting the work done. Decide on deadilnes for each stage of your project so that nobody is waiting for someone else to finish up before starting their own work. These decisions are best made in your first group meeting. Having deadlines and sending each other reminders is a great way to stay focussed as a team!

Tip 3: Make sure everyone in the group understands what is decided as far a process, goals and responsibilities. Just because something is clear to you doesn't mean it is clear to everyone!