Online Learning

Our online courses make it easy to learn from any location, as long as you have a computer, internet, audio and, in some cases, a webcam and microphone. These components may already be built into your laptop or computer.

Your schedule will depend on the course. Some courses include live online classes, while others give you the flexibility to work at your own pace within the assignment schedule set by your instructor. All live online sessions and assignment deadlines are scheduled in Pacific Time.

What is Canvas?

We deliver in-class course materials and online courses through Canvas, an easy-to-use learning management system. It keeps your learning modules, assignments and discussions all in one place, and you’ll interact with your instructor and classmates by posting to online discussions and using other communication tools within Canvas.

You can test your browser for compatibility with Canvas here.

Access your online course

On the start date of your course, you will receive an email inviting you to log in to Canvas. If this is your first course at SFU Continuing Studies, you will be asked to set up a Canvas profile and password. Find out more about the step-by-step procedure to activate your Canvas account on our FAQ and Technical Support page.

If you don’t see the email inviting you to Canvas, please check your Spam and Junk mail folders.

NOTE: To ensure you receive your confirmation and receipt emails, be sure to mark sfu.ca as a safe sender.

Tips for online learning

Schedule your time

Even if your course is self-paced, you’ll still need to be online regularly. Expect to devote between six and 10 hours per week to each course and access the course at least once every two days to keep up with your work. You’ll also need to follow posted assignment and discussion deadlines.

Occasionally your instructor may schedule a special guest speaker or an interactive presentation at a specific date and time. They may also offer optional instructor office-hour chats on a regular basis.

Courses usually consist of modules that you work through in a set order. While some courses allow access to all modules on the course start date, you may need to participate in an activity or work on an exercise during certain set weeks. It may be possible to work ahead occasionally, but you usually cannot complete the course before the scheduled end date.

Interact and collaborate online

Studying online doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on interaction with others. You’ll work with peers from different geographical and professional backgrounds who share their experiences, ideas and expertise.

Through online forums, you’ll have the chance to ask questions and discuss what you learn with your instructor and other students. You can also contact your classmates and instructors individually using the message features on Canvas.

If your course offers live online sessions, you’ll also meet your instructor and classmates using Zoom Meetings videoconferencing.