Online Learning Tip #3: Know Your Resources

by Shannon Bicknell | Jan 15, 2016
know your resources


Whether you're taking an online course as an on-campus or off-campus student, you have access to some great campus resources. Continue reading for information about some of the most helpful resources for online students. While some of these resources are limited to degree-seeking online students, the great news is that others are freely available. 
Online Course Information
Whether you are already registered for an online course or are thinking about the next online course you want to dive into, a helpful resource is the Illinois Online website. From this website, you can browse online course offerings, find out about online degree programs, and learn more about the online learning experience. 
Library Resources
There is a wealth of information available to you via the University Library. As an Illinois student, you have access to one of the largest public library systems in the country. The University Library has dozens of subject libraries and holds more than 13 million volumes. 
Visit the University Library website to search for books, articles, journals, and media available to you as a student. You can also request research materials via I-Share, the statewide library online catalog. This means you have access to materials from 76 other libraries that are I-Share members. 
Library staff have also created a wealth of resource guides specific to departments. Visit the resources guides page to browse by subject and obtain helpful tips about the best databases to use for research in your field.
Another helpful tool is the Ask a Librarian service. Even if you are taking an Illinois course from a distance, you can chat with a librarian to receive expert advice on searching for and retrieving online research materials. 
Writing Resources
The next time you are working on a writing assignment, make sure to check out helpful writing resources available through the University Library and the Center for Writing Studies.
If you are an on-campus student, check out the Writers Workshop. This unit provides free writing assistance to University of Illinois students and is staffed by highly trained consultants who can coach you through all aspects of the writing process. Visit the website to learn how to make an appointment.

If you are not on campus, the free resources available on the Writers Workshop website are extremely valuable. The resources include a grammar handbook, guide to citation styles, ESL resources, and general writing tips.
The University Library also has a helpful Research Writing Rescue section that will walk you through the research process, guiding you through choosing a topic, selecting a search strategy, conducting research, writing, and revising.
Technology Resources
  • Technology Services (formerly known as CITES) provides a wide variety of tools and helpful guides to students. This is a go-to website for any online student since you can find information about your NetID, email, and a wide variety of other University technology services.
  • Google Apps @ Illinois provides you with expanded access to a wealth of tools, such as access to Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Drive, and Google Sites. Leveraging these tools can help you stay organized and better collaborate with classmates.
  • U of I Box is a cloud-based storage system that offers Illinois students 50GB of file storage. Illinois students can use this service to store and then retrieve files from anywhere. This is a great tool for online students since you can organize and save your files in one place and then access them on the go. Visit the U of I Box sign-up page for more information.
  • If you find yourself in need of software for one of your online courses, make sure to visit the WebStore. There you can find special offers available to University of Illinois students on 150 software titles. 
Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services 
DRES provides services to qualified individuals with disabilities. To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, visit the DRES website for more information.