• University of Leeds

Preparing to Learn Online at University

Need advice on how to study online? Discover study techniques and skills for learning online as part of your university studies.

5,970 enrolled on this course

Preparing to Learn Online at University

Improve your online study skills and get academic online learning tips

Learning online is very different from learning in an on-campus classroom and often involves independent study.

On this course, you will explore and learn about various different approaches to online learning.

You’ll develop practical skills that will enable you to become an effective online learner at a university level.

You’ll discover methods for collaborating and communicating online effectively and learn the best practice for conducting online research.

By the end of the course, you’ll have mastered the independent study skills and tools for online learning that work for you.


  • Week 1

    Being an effective online learner

    • Welcome

      This course will prepare you to become an effective online learner at university. Before you get started, take some time to introduce yourself and meet your fellow learners.

    • Online study skills

      In this activity, you will learn how to study online and how to manage your time. You will explore some reading and note taking techniques to help you make the most of your time.

    • Reflective learning

      In this activity you will learn what reflective learning is how it will help you develop and improve the way you learn.

    • Summary

      Take a moment to reflect on what you have learned this week and look forward to next week.

  • Week 2

    Communicating and collaborating online

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Week 2 covers the benefits of communicating, sharing and collaborating with others online and explores methods of doing this effectively.

    • Communicating online

      In this activity, you will learn the different ways to communicate effectively online and you will have the opportunity to practice your online communication skills.

    • How to collaborate online

      In this activity, explore how online collaboration is different to offline collaboration, and how this can have key benefits and challenges.

    • Summary

      Reflect on what you have learned from the week and look forward to next week.

  • Week 3

    Researching online

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Welcome to Week 3 of the course. The focus of this week is online research and critical thinking.

    • Researching your project

      In this activity, you will consider how to start a research project and make the most of your online searches.

    • Critical thinking and success at university

      Critical thinking is an essential part of your study. This activity explores how to critically analyse research sources and form your own arguments.

    • Summary

      This final summary of the course reflects on what you have learned in Week 3. You also have the opportunity to check your understanding of the topics covered.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop effective online learning strategies that work for you.
  • Produce useful and reflective notes to support your study.
  • Contribute meaningfully to online learning discussions.
  • Develop the skills to lead productive collaborative work online.
  • Explore tools and approaches to find, evaluate and use online information to inform and develop your own opinion.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for undergraduate and postgraduate university students who need advice and tips on how to take their university studies online.

Please note this course will run without facilitation.

Who will you learn with?

Dean of Digital Education and Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Leeds. For more information see: https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/education/staff/156/professor-neil-morris

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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  • Access to this course for 5 weeks



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