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Using the Technology


Think of Nexus as the 'hub' or 'center' of your course, where your instructor may:

  • post the course outline/syllabus
  • post course materials
  • conduct online discussions and perhaps other activities
  • post announcements
  • receive your assignments

(Nexus may be one of the places where your instructor expects you to find these various things; there may be other places that he/she will specify.)

You may not be able to see your course in Nexus until the day the class actually begins, but make sure your computer meets the requirements and that you know how to login. 

Learn how to use Nexus by watching the video series for an overview:  Nexus Introductory Videos   
Or you may want to follow the written guide:  Nexus Guide

Enhanced Nexus Support
Starting Friday, February 19, 2021, a new “Nexus Support Portal” service will be available to all Nexus users (students, staff and faculty), with 24/7/365 support for the majority of Nexus requests via Live Chat or by email. If needed, other requests will be escalated to the UWinnipeg Nexus Support team to be addressed during regular business hours.
Details for students on how to access the new support service portal.


If your instructor is using “Panopto” to stream your course videos, you can access these videos through the Nexus course site.  For instructions, please see:  Panopto Videos  


Learn how to set up and use Zoom video-conferencing technology:

Visit the Zoom Help Centre for more information:

Know about privacy issues on Zoom from the UWinnipeg's Information and Privacy Office:

Resources from Other Institutions:

Communicating Online

Your instructors may use some of these communication tools/applications to encourage interaction in the class.

Discussion Boards:  The discussion board (also known as a discussion forum, or message board) is one of the most popular features in an online course, and it's one place where your asynchronous classroom discussions can occur. Your instructor may post the first message (or prompt) and ask students to reply to their initial post, or they may choose to allow students to post a topic (or thread) and engage the class in the online conversation that way.
Discussion board video resources: 
Discussion board etiquette
Participating in discussion boards

Chat:  A course may have a text-based chat feature that will allow you to exchange messages with others who are online at the same time as you. Sometimes instructors will use the chat feature as a way to hold office hours or a study session.  Because chat happens in real-time, there is a sense of immediate gratification—you don't have to wait several hours for a response like you might have to with email.

Video conferencing: Many video conferencing software applications such as Zoom, Collaborate or WebEx include useful features like:

  • the ability to share desktops
  • the ability to share files
  • online chat windows
  • break-out rooms for small group work

5 Tips for Effective Online Communication  

1. Participate. Understand the participation expectations of your instructor. For example, you may be required to participate in a minimum of one chat, create one original discussion forum posting, and respond to at least two posts created by your classmates. Be sure to complete the minimum requirements for participation in the course. 

2. Be insightful. Understand the expectations of your instructor for the quality of communication in the course. If there is a communication rubric or marking guide, be sure to read it before you begin. In general, responses such as "I agree" in either a synchronous or asynchronous environment are unproductive. Consider supporting your ideas and opinions concerning readings, research or course materials.  You may ask probing questions or make connections to the real world in your response. 

3. Be timely. This is especially important when communicating asynchronously because it is not useful to join a discussion forum that is already finished. Be aware of deadlines for asynchronous communications and scheduled synchronous events. This will ensure that you are actively participating and gaining as much as possible from the experience.

 4. Communicate  clearly. Avoid acronyms, slang, and abbreviations in your communication. This is your classroom, so your language choices need to be clear, appropriate and presented in full sentences. When composing an asynchronous message, it is advisable to proofread and edit your work before sending. Always follow netiquette, the code for acceptable conduct in your online communication.

5. Remember  the  human aspect.  Your instructor and classmates are not simply names on a class list; they are people and are part of this experience. If there is an icebreaker activity that involves introducing yourself, jump right in! Get to know the people you are working within the course and be prepared to share your experiences, resources and questions with them as you work through the course materials. Making human connections in an online course will help you to feel less isolated and will provide you with additional support  for your learning.


Adapted from Lethbridge College. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Additional Resources:

  • Office Lens is a free tool that can capture text from images/ scans. It can help make your documents more accessible, or help students who need OCR for screen readers and other accessibility tools.