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Student Handbook

Site: Life Strategies LearnOnline
Course: Life Strategies LearnOnline
Book: Student Handbook
Printed by:
Date: Friday, 18 September 2020, 10:18 PM

1. Introduction

This Student Handbook provides important information for students in all Life Strategies LearnOnline programs and courses, including: 

  • Administrative Policies and Procedures
  • Course Learning Activities and Assignments
  • Course Completion Requirements
  • Writing Guidelines

General information about our programs and courses is located in the LearnOnline Catalogue. For further information, please feel free to contact us for assistance - p. 604-856-2386 / e. info@lifestrategies.ca.

We also recommend students stay connected with us and, and each other, through LinkedInTwitter,  Facebook, and our Blog

2. Support Team

Although students will complete their training fully online, they will not do so in isolation. Several people comprise the Life Strategies' LearnOnline support team. 

Instructor

Each course has at least one assigned instructor. The instructor will send the opening welcome message to students with important information on getting started in their course. The instructor's contact information will be posted on the main course page as well.

The instructor will check into the course site at least once per day and often far more than that. Instructors will also respond to emails that come directly to them (i.e., not via the course site) within 24-hours. If a student needs a "real-time" conversation either via telephone or an Instant Message “chat,” they can contact the instructor through the course site or via email to set an appointment. Some of our instructors travel extensively, across a variety of time zones, others work from home offices so incoming phone calls late at night, early in the morning, or on weekends may disturb their families. Scheduling any necessary phone calls in advance will ensure that the student will get focused attention, wherever the instructor may be in the world at that time.

Course Administrator

Students may notice another team member active in the course site as we set up / take down courses, monitor enrollment, and support students' issues if they arise. Contact info@lifestrategies.ca if you have any questions for the course administrator. 

Student Advisor

Students who require support with course planning can connect with our student advisor (studentadvisor@lifestrategies.ca). The student advisor helps students proactively manage their course load and plan for successful course completion. 

Technical Support

Our technical support team is available via phone (604-856-2386) or email (techsupport@lifestrategies.ca). The phone is checked during our regular office hours and the tech support email is checked periodically throughout the evenings and weekends. If a student requires immediate assistance outside of regular office hours, the instructor may be able to offer support.

A member of our team also monitors the Technical Support forum within the course site and will respond within 24 hours to inquiries posted there as well. 

3. Administrative Policies and Procedures

The following chapter includes important administrative policies and procedures pertaining to Life Strategies LearnOnline programs and courses including:

  • Procedures
    • Application
    • Registration
  • Policies
    • Course Refund
    • Course Transfer
    • Webinar Refund/Cancellation
    • Materials/Supplies/Fees Refund
    • Attendance
    • Grievance
    • Course Audit
    • Accommodation
    • Course Challenge (CMPP Only)
    • Course Completion
    • Certificate
    • Transcript
    • Continuing Education Units/Credits

3.1. Application Procedure

New students must submit a one-time new student application form. The application form is located online at http://www.lifestrategies.ca/resources/application-form.cfm. Once submitted, students will be redirected to our Online Store to remit a one-time $35.00 (plus tax) non-refundable application fee.

It will take 1-2 business days for the application to be reviewed. Students will be contacted, via email, with a formal approval or a request for additional information. 

Webinar attendees are not subject to this application fee.

3.2. Registration Procedure

New students to our programs/courses should first refer to the Application Procedures section of this handbook. Students will also want to review the course pre-requisites (visit our website) and connect with our team should they have any questions regarding eligibility for our programs/courses, or fit/suitability of the courses and approach to meet their needs.

When students are ready to register, orders can be placed through our Online StoreSelect the appropriate category from the Store Navigation menu (right-hand side) or use the search feature to find the desired course.

Students should select the appropriate start date and click “Add to cart.” They can either “Continue Shopping” to find another course or “Checkout” to review the “Shopping Cart.” All students should review their order in the "Shopping Cart" carefully for accuracy prior to proceeding to payment.

There are two options for payment:

  1. Credit Card / PayPal Direct: Payment can be made at the time of purchase via credit card (i.e., Visa or MasterCard) through our store’s PayPal integration – select “Check out with PayPal” followed by “Pay with credit or VISA Debit card.” Corporate cards are accepted. Alternatively, students can proceed to log into their PayPal account to send funds from that account if they prefer.
  2. Cheque or Money Order: Students should use the “Checkout” option in place of “Check out with PayPal” if they prefer to be invoiced directly.

Students will receive an email confirmation of the order immediately after it is placed; however, all orders will be reviewed prior to processing to ensure program/course suitability. Once the order is approved, the credit card will be processed and an email confirmation will be issued. If credit card information wasn't submitted, a formal invoice will follow within a few business days.

Some courses require registration 2-3 weeks in advance to allow time to order the required training materials; late registrations (i.e., 1 week prior to start date) may be subject to a $50.00 (plus tax) fee. Register for three or more courses at once to receive a 10% discount. Full payment is due no later than 1 week before the course start date. 

Students seeking to arrange a payment plan must contact our office directly to discuss special arrangments.

Students experiencing any issues with the registration process or having questions regarding payment can contact our office. 

Courses with insufficient registrations may be postponed or cancelled up to 1 week prior to the course start date. If this is the case, any active students will be notified via email. These students may opt to transfer to the next session or request a full refund of training fees.


3.3. Course Refund Policy

We strive to be flexible in our refund/transfer policies understanding that life circumstances can change unexpectedly. However, as our courses require active participation and completion of multiple assignments, we also encourage students to ensure they can make time in their lives to advance their education, prior to registering. Do not hesitate to contact a Life Strategies Student Advisor to discuss expectations specific to the program of study you are interested in, helping to ensure you fully understand these expectations before proceeding with your registration. 

All requests for refunds and/or course transfers must be received in writing (i.e., email).

Our course refund policy was originally based on the policy created by the now disbanded, BC Private Career Training Industry Association

If a student withdraws 2 weeks or more before the program of study starts:

A full refund of course fees, less a $50 administration fee, will be provided. 

If a student withdraws 1-2 weeks before the program of study starts:

Ninety percent of the training fee, less a $50 administration fee, will be refunded. The remaining can be applied as credit toward future events within the following 12 months. If course fees have not been received at time of withdrawal, the student will be invoiced for 10% of the training fee plus the administration fee.

If a student withdraws less than 1 week before the program of study starts:

Eighty percent of the training fee, less a $50 administration fee, will be refunded. However, the remaining can be applied as credit toward future events within the following 12 months. If course fees have not been received at the time of withdrawal, the student will be invoiced for 20% of the training fees plus the administration fee. 


In any of the previous instances, students may opt to transfer to the next session of the same course (see transfer policy for details) rather than receive a refund, or partial refund, of tuition paid

If a student withdraws after the program of study starts:

If written notice of withdrawal is received or the student is dismissed from the course within 10% of the program, we will retain 30% of the total fees due under the contract plus a $50 administration fee; within 30% of the program, we will retain 50% of the tuition fees due under the contract plus a $50 administration fee. After the first 30% of the program, students are not entitled to any refund and, with the exception of special circumstances, the student may not apply their fees to another session of that same course. 

Any courses run in a directed study format cannot be refunded after the customized course materials have been released to the student (i.e., the Monday prior to the course start date) as, at that point, students have access to all course components (e.g., readings, resources, discussion topics, and assignment details).

3.4. Course Transfer Policy

Students are permitted up to 2 transfers per course; transfer requests must be received in writing a minimum of 24 hours prior to the start date of the course with the exception of directed study courses. There is a $50.00 administrative fee for each transfer; however, this fee will only be applied if the student ultimately chooses to withdraw (course withdrawal fees will also apply). After one year has passed, the credit expires and can no longer be applied.

For example:

  • Request a transfer from one course to another; successfully complete the course – no transfer fee applies
  • Request a transfer from one course to another but withdraw prior to the start of the course - $50 administrative fee for the previous transfer plus $50 course withdrawal fee; the balance will be refunded 
  • Request a second transfer but ultimately withdraw - $50 administrative fee for each transfer ($100, total) plus $50 course withdrawal fee; the balance will not be refunded but 50% of it can be applied towards another purchase

3.5. Webinar Refund/Cancellation Policy

A full refund will be provided for withdrawals received within 72 hours after registration provided the webinar hasn’t run. After this refund period has passed, there is no refund available. A copy of the recorded webinar, however, will be provided. GoToMeeting requires the download of a “local client” that can be blocked by firewalls and various pop-up blockers, though problems tend to be very rare. Technical issues are the full responsibility of each webinar attendee and refunds are not available for webinars that ran successfully. 


3.6. Materials/Supplies/Fees Refund Policy

Application fees and PDF copies of any Life Strategies publications are 100% non-refundable. Printed Life Strategies’ books may be returned; however, they will be subject to a 20% restocking fee and Life Strategies will not be responsible for return shipping fees. Books purchased from other vendors, for specific courses/programs of study, are subject to the specific return policy of the individual vendors. Assessment tools and/or online codes for assessments are impacted by a range of policies which depend on the test publisher. If you are withdrawing from one of our assessment courses, please contact the Student Advisor for any refunds that may be available. 


3.7. Attendance Policy

Each course is a specified number of weeks in length and follows a set schedule of facilitated discussions and assignments. These courses do not operate on the traditional “distance-education model of self-paced/self-study” but are facilitator-led with participation being worth 20 - 30% of the total available grade (please see Course Syllabus for information specific to your course). As such, you must be able to participate in course discussions at least once per day, including weekends and holidays.

Students are expected to:

  • Check into the course site daily, including weekends and holidays. 
  • Read posts from fellow students and the instructor daily
  • Make a minimum of two posts in each of the required discussion threads over at least 2 days that a course topic is active.
  • Complete any required activities (e.g., Wikis) described in the Course Syllabus.
Students should ensure posts reflect: 
  • Your understanding of the readings, course activities, and underlying theories/constructs.
  • Your integration/application of the information to the work of a career development practitioner.
  • Your thoughtful response to others’ contributions to the discussion. 

You must notify course instructor(s) if you are going to be “offline” for more than 48 hours. After 48 hours the course instructor, or other administrative staff, will contact you via email. If no response is received to that email and there is no additional activity for a further 24 hours, we will assume that you decided to withdraw from the course. Therefore, if you are offline for more than 72 hours you will be un-enrolled. Because these courses are relatively short and intensive in nature, you cannot afford to be away from the course for very long.

Review 10 Tips for Completing Successful LearnOnline Discussions for some helpful tips for successful discussions. 

3.8. Grievance Policy

In the event a dispute arises between a student and instructor, the following procedures will be followed:

  1. The student must raise the concern with the instructor including a specific request for action
  2. If the dispute isn’t resolved, the student must submit the concern in writing to the instructor, cc’ing Dr. Roberta Neault (president of Life Strategies Ltd.) at roberta@lifestrategies.ca 
  3. Dr. Neault, or a designate, will follow-up with the student and instructor within 3 working days to see if the issue has been satisfactorily resolved
  4. If the issue hasn’t been resolved, Dr. Neault, or the designate, will clarify the concerns and provide a resolution within 5 working days of receipt of the written complaint

3.9. Course Audit Policy

Past students may audit any course that they successfully completed, at no additional charge. However, students should be aware that assignments will not be marked and they will get limited one-on-one time from course instructors.

3.10. Accommodation Policy

At Life Strategies  Ltd. we are committed to supporting diverse learners towards successful course completion. 

If a student has a disability that requires accommodation, please let the Student Advisor know at studentadvisor@lifestrategies.ca prior to the course start date. We will work collaboratively with the student, instructor, and administrative team to support successful course completion.

3.11. Course Challenge Policy (CMPP Only)

If a student is completing a certificate within the Career Management Professional Program (CMPP), he/she may challenge up to two courses. Each challenge has several components including:

  • Remittance of the $100 (plus tax) fee per challenge
  • Brief summary of how he/she has already achieved the course learning objectives (see course outlines)
  • Demonstration of his/her knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the course topics, through a tip sheet assignment (i.e., handout for clients or colleagues) or some other resource that can be shared on the course site

A student can challenge any course to receive full course credit. Note: transcript will state “successfully challenged.” 

Upon purchase of each course challenge the student has 30 days to submit an outline as to how he/she has met the learning objectives, plus 1 week to complete and submit a tip sheet or similar assignment as stipulated by Life Strategies. 

3.12. Course Completion Policy

Successful course completion requires students to achieve a grade of 80% overall (please see the Course Syllabus for specific information on the assignment grade breakdown). As Life Strategies supports mastery learning, at the end of the course if a student has not achieved 80% overall, he/she will have an opportunity to resubmit one assignment in an effort to improve the grade (note: any resubmitted assignment has a maximum available grade of 85%). This assignment re-submission must be negotiated with the instructor and must be handed in no later than one week after the course ends. Further, it cannot be an assignment that the student has previously re-submitted (see Assignments section of this handbook for further detail). Please note that there is no opportunity to negotiate or increase participation grades. As such, it's important for students to keep on top of their discussion forum contributions. 

If a student is still unable to achieve an overall grade of 80%, he/she will be given an incomplete for the course; however, he/she will be eligible to reregister for the course the next time it is offered, at 50% of the current course fee. Successful completion of the course the 2nd time it is attempted will result in a maximum grade of 80%, regardless of how well the student does in all the assignments.

3.13. Certificate Policy

Career Management Professional Program

To ensure certificates are kept current with relevant, up-to-date information, CMPP students completing a full certificate must complete all coursework within 2 years of the starting the program. 

Students who are unable to complete all coursework within the 2-year period are no longer eligible to receive their CMPP certificate from Yorkville University; however, they are welcome to continue taking individual courses at their own pace for professional development. All students, whether completing a full certificate or taking individual courses with Life Strategies Ltd., are eligible to receive course transcripts as documentation of successful course completion. Transcripts are issued upon request and carry both Life Strategies Ltd. and Yorkville’s logos. The first transcript is free of charge; however, multiple requests will result in a small fee.

Alternatively, students may apply for a certificate deadline extension. To do so, they must make a formal application to Life Strategies Ltd. and pay the certificate extension application fee ($50.00) to cover the costs of reviewing course plans and identifying which courses may be challenged and which must be taken again. Click here for the official Certificate Extension Application Form; submission of this form is required at least one month prior to the 2-year deadline. We strongly recommend early applications so our student advisor can review the application and assist in course planning. Certificates can only be extended for 3 additional months beyond the original certificate expiry date. Submission of an application for certificate extension does not guarantee an extension will be granted. Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis

Other LearnOnline Programs

For the remainder of the LearnOnline programs, Life Strategies will provide students with one certificate free of charge at program completion. Reprints of program certificates can be issued upon special request; however, a nominal fee of $10.00 (plus tax) per certificate will apply. Payment can be made via our Online Store

All certificates will be issued via email unless otherwise requested.

3.14. Transcript Policy

Life Strategies will provide students with one transcript free of charge at program completion (e.g., CMPP, JD) or, upon special request, for individual courses (e.g., Career Development Foundations, Emerging Theories, and Models). Additional transcripts for individual courses, or reprints of program transcripts, can be issued upon special request; however, a nominal fee of $10.00 (plus tax) per transcript will apply. Payment can be made via our Online Store

All transcripts will be issued via email unless otherwise requested. If an official transcript needs to be sent directly to an organization or institution, the student will need to send an email request to studentadvisor@lifestrategies.ca identifying his/her name, the course(s), and detailed instructions about where to send the information and in what format it is required (e.g., mailed with original signature, signature over seal).

For an unofficial record of grades, students can print a copy from their course site before it closes. To do so, students should click on “grades” within the administrative block (slide-out panel on the left-hand side) of the course site.

3.15. Continuing Education Units/Credits Policy

Many courses have been pre-approved for Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU/Cs) by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and the Vocational Rehabilitation Association (VRA) of Canada. In addition, Life Strategies LearnOnline courses and webinars may be eligible for CEU/Cs from many other professional associations such as the BC Career Development Association, Alberta Career Development Association, the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE), and the BC Human Resources Management Associations. Please contact the Student Advisor for further information.

4. Course Learning Activities

The following section will provide details on several common learning activities in the LearnOnline courses including:

  • Course Syllabus (Book)
  • Course Notes and Study Process (Pages)
  • Course Resources
  • Discussion Forums 
  • Assignments
  • Wiki
  • Chat
  • Lesson

4.1. Course Syllabus (Book)

The Course Syllabus is posted as a book resource in the general course area (as is this Student Handbook). Students must read this carefully at the beginning of the course so they know what to expect and can plan their time accordingly. The book is divided into several chapters and sub-chapters. 

Generally, the Course Syllabus sections include:

  • Course Outline: This section presents the general information including course description and learning objectives.
  • Evaluation: This section presents a full description of the required assignments including grading criteria and due date.
  • Topical Content: This section presents a topical breakdown, summary of course learning activities, and important deadlines. It is followed by a preview of the specific learning requirements for each topic.


4.2. Course Notes and Study Process (Pages)

For each topic, including the introduction and course summary, students will find a corresponding Course Notes and Study Process page resource. This resource provides topical notes, directions for completing learning activities, and hyperlinks to required readings/resources. It is important for students to pay attention to the gentle reminders which refer to important deadlines and requirements. 

Although we’ve hyperlinked everything students will need to do within the topic from the Course Notes and Study Process page, students can also access the readings and discussion forums on the main course site. Students will also notice these pages replicated in the Course Syllabus. Students are welcome to review the topical content before a topic officially opens up; however, discussion forums will only be available when the topic is open.

4.3. Course Resources

There are several course resources students will refer to throughout the course including:

  • Course Textbook: Assigned chapters/pages (as noted in Course Notes & Study Process)
  • Weblinks: News/research articles, videos, blog posts, etc. 
  • PDF:  Internal document, templates, worksheets, etc.
  • MS Office Resource: Word, Excel, and/or PowerPoint

Students can expect to incorporate learning from these resources into their discussions and assignments. 


4.4. Discussion Forums 

Discussions are a learning cornerstone within the LearnOnline programs and courses. These forums are a place to engage in discussion with fellow students, instructor(s), and course administrators. Students will notice several standard forums, located within the general course area which will be open throughout the duration of the course. 

Standard forums include:

  • News: This forum will be for general news and announcements. Posts to this forum are automatically emailed to every student, even if the individual student's account preferences are not set to receive email notifications. This helps to ensure important announcements from instructors and course administrators aren’t missed.
  • Welcome: This forum is a place for students to introduce themselves to others in the course.
  • Learning Goals: This forum is where students can share their learning goals for the course. As a class, we will revisit these at the end of the course.
  • Course Questions: This forum is for any general questions related to the course or assignments. Although we strongly encourage shared learning, if students have a private question, they are welcome to contact the instructor directly via email.
  • Café: This is the place for any "off-topic" discussions . . . think of it as the coffee shop where students might meet before and after class. Feel free to use this forum to chat, get to know each other, and share ideas that might not be related to a specific course topic. Keep in mind that the instructor and the course administrators do not monitor this forum; any course-related questions must be posted in the appropriate forum or emailed directly to the instructor.
  • Technical Support: This is the place to share technical challenges, questions, and tips about how to "live" in our online community. The Technical Tips & Tricks resource has several helpful hints for overcoming technical challenges. If students cannot find the answer there, questions can be posted in this forum and one of our team members will do their best to help.

Each discussion forum contains at least one thread we've started to guide discussions. Students should review and adhere to the participation guidelines posted in the Course Syllabus. They may also find it helpful to read the 10 Tips for Completing Successful LearnOnline Discussions for some helpful tips for successful discussions. 

Although these discussions are asynchronous (i.e., not "real time" interactions), it is important to participate regularly in any open threads as specified in your Course Syllabus. Topical discussions are only available when the topic is scheduled.

Remember, our goal is to mimic face-to-face classroom contributions; however, students do not need to respond in a linear, chronological manner. Reading and responding to comments from fellow students and additional prompts from the instructor throughout the duration of the topic will maximize your participation grade. In addition, active and timely participation will help to enrich the learning experience, connect with peers, and stretch thinking on the topic. 

4.5. Assignments

In most courses, students will be graded on their participation and the submission of 3 assignments. Depending on the specific course, 20 - 30% of the total available mark will be for participation while the other 70 - 80% will be divided into 3 assignments. General guidelines are posted below along with an overarching rubric for both participation and assignment grading.   

Participation

Specific participation guidelines are posted within your Course Syllabus and in the Attendance Policy section of this handbook. Review expectations carefully as there is no opportunity to make-up participation grades. There is no formal assignment submission required; participation grades will be posted at the end of the course. If students are concerned about their participation status, they can request an informal check-in with the instructor part-way through the course.

The following chart provides some guidelines for the evaluation of participation.

Percentage Points  /20

Points /25

Interpretation Grading Criteria
>95%  >18.9 >23.7 Excellent Student consistently makes 2 or more posts in each required discussion thread distributed across at least 2 days that the topic is active.

Contributions indicate: (a) exceptional understanding of the material covered in the course readings and topical resources, (b) integration and application of this information to the discussion topic and/or work of a career management professional, (c) accurate interpretation of the theories and constructs (and their shortcomings when applicable) that underlie the discussion topic.  

85-94.4% 17.0-18.8 23.6-21.1 Good

Student generally makes 2+ posts in each required discussion thread distributed across 1-2 days that the topic is active.

Contributions are generally above average in quality, indicating good understanding of course material, integration and application of the information to the work of a career management professional, and understanding of underlying theories and constructs. Contributions show evidence of thoughtful consideration, reflection and attention to the issues addressed, and add valuable information to the discussion.

80-84.4% 16.0- 16.9 20.0-21.1 Average Student generally makes only 1 post in each required discussion thread.

Contributions lack depth but show some thought, reflection, and attention to the issues, and add to the discussion.

Less than 80% <16 <20  Below Average 

Student consistently makes less than 1 post in each required discussion forum per topic, or clusters contributions on the last day or after the topic closes. 

Contributions may also lack thought, reflection, and/or effort, and add little to the discussion.  


Assignments 

Beyond participation,  in most cases, students will be graded on the submission of 3 assignments. Specific instructions for completion, criteria for grading, and deadlines for submission are posted within your Course Syllabus and the assignment activity. To maximize your grade, read assignment requirements carefully and plan your time accordingly. Review 10 Tips for Submitting Successful LearnOnline Assignments for some helpful suggestions. If students have questions, it's important to ask them early within the Course Questions discussion forum or privately via email to the instructor. Students should leave themselves enough time to ask questions, get a response, and then complete the assignment. 

It is the student's responsibility to monitor when assignments are due, address every item in the grading criteria, and upload assignments on time. Assignments should be prepared offline using Microsoft Word, or some other compatible word-processing software, and then uploaded privately to the course site using the submission section within the assignment activity. When uploading assignments, please use a unique identifier such as name and assignment number – we recommend “Course Name Assignment # Student Name” for your file name. This helps to ensure that the instructor doesn’t overwrite files when downloading submissions. Only the student, the instructor, and course administrators will be able to view uploaded assignments; they cannot be viewed by other students.

Instructors will generally not review draft assignments; however, in special circumstances, a student may request the instructor to review a draft assignment. In these cases; however, a maximum grade of 85% may be applied.

The following chart provides some guidelines for the evaluation of course assignments.

PercentagePoints  /20

Points /25

Points /30 InterpretationGrading Criteria
>95%>18.9>23.7>28.3 Excellent

 Assignments address all of the assignment criteria and demonstrate: (a) good understanding of the material covered in the course readings and topical resources, (b) integration and application of this information to the assignment topic and/or work of a career management professional, (c) accurate interpretation of the theories/models (and their shortcomings when applicable) that underlie the assignment topic.  

85-94.4%17.0-18.821.1-23.625.4-28.2Good

Assignments lack at least one of the above criteria but are generally above average in quality. Assignments show evidence of thoughtful consideration, reflection, and attention to the issues addressed. 

80-84.4%16 – 16.920-21.124.0-25.3Average

Assignments lack some of the required components and miss some of the above criteria but show some thought, reflection, and attention to the issues.

Less than 80%<16<20  <24Below Average 

Assignments are missing significant components and give insufficient evidence of thought, reflection, or effort.

Assignments that are submitted late will receive an automatic 5% deduction for each day it’s late (i.e., after 24 hours 5%, after 48 hours 10%, after 72 hours 15%). For exceptional circumstances, contact instructor(s) in advance to request an extension.

The developers of the LearnOnline program support the concept of mastery learning. If students do not achieve 80% on any individual assignment, they have one opportunity to resubmit that assignment, incorporating instructor feedback. The revised assignment must be submitted for marking no later than 48 hours after the original assignment was returned unless otherwise negotiated. The maximum grade that can be earned for a resubmitted assignment is 85%.

Generally, assignments will be marked within 48 hours of the due date (not submission date). Students can expect detailed feedback and marks a minimum of 24 hours prior to the due date of the next assignment to allow students to integrate feedback into subsequent work. Although the focus of our courses is not specifically on writing, you can expect to be graded on and receive feedback on writing style, format, and references in addition to the assignment content. Refer to the specific assignment grading criteria for the assignment within your course materials. 

4.6. Wiki

In some courses, students will need to work collaboratively in a wiki on a specific activity or task. In others, students may find wikis as group activity sign-up sheets. Essentially, the Wiki enables students to work collaboratively with fellow students to add, expand, and change the content. It may be helpful to think of it as a whiteboard or flip chart where everyone can make contributions. 

4.7. Chat

Although the bulk of communication in the courses will take place asynchronously through the Discussion Forums, students may need to meet “live” (e.g., role play). In such instances, the course administrators will have set up one or more Chat Rooms. 

The Chat feature itself isn't very technically sophisticated so we recommend if students have access to another program (e.g., Skype) which they'd prefer to use, they feel free to do so. However, students should ensure a transcript / recording can be saved so that they can refer back for the assignments if necessary.

In some courses, students may want to arrange a live session. We do have access to OmniJoin, a screen-sharing program, which we can arrange for students who are interested. Email info@lifestrategies.ca for details.  

4.8. Lesson

Lessons will walk students through content in a structured manner. They are not typically graded; however, they are an important learning activity. Within the lesson, students will find brief content, videos, and/or questions designed to assess your learning. Depending on the specific course you are enrolled in, the format and duration will vary. 

5. Writing Guidelines

There are many writing style guides; the writing “rules” change depending on which format a student follows. Although we won't require a specific formatting style, consistency is the key to effective written communication. We’ve included some writing pointers here to help students as they prepare assignments.

  • Plagiarism
  • Referencing
  • Annotated References
  • Writing Tips
  • Style Guide


5.1. Plagiarism

LearnOnline instructors take plagiarism and incorrect credit for another’s work very seriously. All assignments must be original work (i.e., something a student has prepared specifically for the current course) appropriately crediting sources for concepts and words. 

Yorkville University, the academic home of the Career Management Professional Program and Psychometric Assessments "B Level" Qualification training program, defines plagiarism as: Quoting verbatim or almost verbatim from any source without the proper acknowledgment of the author, and without formatting quoted material in accordance with the style guide adopted by the relevant Faculty.

Although not always intentional, plagiarism is not acceptable in an academic environment. Students are not required to submit assignments in any one particular format (e.g., APA); however, students should ensure that any sources used for the assignment are credited accurately either in a reference list or footnote, or another way within the assignment document.

Instructors who suspect plagiarism is an issue in a studentès assignment will contact the student noting the area of concern. Plagiarism in any assignments may result in a grade of zero if not appropriately addressed. Persistent incidents of plagiarism will result in removal from the course and/or program.

For detailed information on plagiarism, visit:

5.2. References

For words or ideas which are quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise referenced within a student's work, citations within the text will point readers to a reference list. This will allow the reader to find the original source of the quotes or ideas expressed. Although a formal list at the end of the document is most common, footnotes are also acceptable.

Be sure to include enough information to allow the reader to find the original source of the information referenced. At minimum, each reference should include the author's name, year of publication, resource title, and URL if applicable. Two common examples are included below. Information about the publisher is nice, but not necessary. 

  • Example of a reference list entry for information from a website:

Neault, R. (2008, July). That’s just plain silly! Channeling outrage to champion change.  Retrieved from http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas09/Neault.doc 

  • Example of a reference list entry for a book:

Hood, A. B., & Johnson, R. W. (2007). Assessment in counseling: A guide to the use of psychological assessment procedures. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association. 

5.3. Annotated References

In many LearnOnline courses, the Tip Sheet assignment provides students the opportunity to explore a specific topic related to the course material. Formatted as a handout to be used by clients (or for training coaches), the “tip sheet” represents a tangible, take-away resource that can be readily used in practice after the course ends. Samples can be found within our Course Resources database. 

An integral component of the tip sheet assignment is the inclusion of an annotated reference list (also known as an annotated bibliography). An annotated reference includes two components: (1) the reference citation and (2) the annotation.

1. Reference Citation

Although a formal citation style is not required (e.g., APAMLA), it’s important that students present references in a consistent format (e.g., if you italicize book titles, ensure you italicize them throughout) and provide enough information so that the reader can locate the resource that you’ve cited. Two examples are provided below; the first is for a book and the second is for a website.

Neault, R. (2012). Career strategies for a lifetime of success (3rd ed.). Aldergrove, BC: Life Strategies Ltd. 

Knott, D. (n.d.).Writing an annotated bibliography. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. Available at http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/annotated-bibliography 

2. Annotation 

The annotation is a brief description of the selected resource. Beyond a simple overview of content, the annotation should indicate how the resource is helpful (i.e., why are you recommending it?). Discuss the usefulness, examine strengths and weaknesses, and describe your impression of the resource. The goal of the desription, similar to what would be found in a resource catalogue, is to motivate the reader to access the resource for a specific purpose. 

Neault, R. (2012). Career strategies for a lifetime of success (3rd ed.). Aldergrove, BC: Life Strategies Ltd. 

An essential resource for career development practitioners (CDPs) and clients alike, this book provides an overview of the career management process across a lifetime and for a wide variety of client types. Readers will learn how to assess personal attributes relevant to career paths in Time to Reflect: Understanding Yourself, explore developing labour market trends in Time to Explore: Understanding the Workplace, decide on careers that “fit” in Time to Choose: Identifying Career Possibilities, and prepare essential work-search documents in Time to Prepare: Developing Portfolios, Resumes, and Interview Skills. In Time for Action: Successful Marketing Strategies, readers will learn about marketing themselves to employers. Time to Look Ahead: Proactive Career Management supports ongoing career-life management activities. 

Collectively these chapters provide important insights about workplace realities, conceptual frameworks to guide the career development process, and helpful activities for practitioners and clients. The six-chapter modularized format enables readers to quickly identify relevant sections. My recommendation for practitioners is to purchase the PDF version so you can easily reproduce handouts for specific clients. 


For more information on annotated references, refer to the following resources:

Concordia University Libraries. (2011). How to prepare an annotated bibliography. Montreal, QC: Author. Available at http://library.concordia.ca/help/howto/annotatedbibliog.php 

Knott, D. (n.d.).Writing an annotated bibliography. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. Available at http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/annotated-bibliography 

5.4. Writing Tips

Although writing style only represents a small portion of the grading criteria for the assignments, clear writing is essential to adequately express ideas. As such, unclear writing can impact a student's overall grade. We recognize that our students come from diverse educational backgrounds/levels and may have limited experience with academic writing. To help students, we have included some basic general tips for improving writing.

  • Use consistent verb tense
  • Ensure “parallel construction” 
    • e.g., “The students completed assessments, participated in workshops, and met individually with their coaches throughout the program.” Here, all verbs fit with the beginning of the sentence (i.e., “The students” completed, participated, met)
  • Watch for single/plural agreement
    • You can’t have a plural noun (e.g., “participants, "one of your team”) and a singular pronoun (e.g., "his")
  • Minimize use of footnotes (e.g., 2 max. per page); create a reference list or endnotes if necessary
  • Avoid biased language (i.e., gender, ethnic, disability, age)
  • Be concise – it’s better to find simpler ways of saying things than to shrink fonts and margins to accommodate extra text within a limited number of pages
  • Proofread – after the assignment is finished, students may find it helpful to let it sit and return to it later to proofread or to engage the help of a study partner to proofread the paper; sometimes reading a document out loud is the best way to identify errors. 

For further resources, check the Course Resource database and/or Sandra Collins’ Professional Writing in the Health Disciplines. 

5.5. Style Guide

There are numerous style guides available. Although we do not require that students adopt any particular one, we do recommend that students use a consistent style throughout their writing. Inconsistent styles and formats can detract from the professionalism of writing and distract the reader from the ideas students are presenting. 

American Psychological Association (APA) Style

Canadian Press (CP) Style

Chicago Style

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style