Learning Technology@LJMU

Guide for Students: continuing to study with limited access to I.T.

These are difficult times for everyone, and we are very aware that many of you are especially concerned about your studies.  The University is doing all it can to support you and ensure that no-one is unfairly disadvantaged by the circumstances that they find themselves in as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.  Anxiety about study may be heightened if you have limited access to the internet or only have a phone to work from.  If you are in that position, then please read on as this guide provides tips and techniques for how you can get the best from the resources that you do have.  

General Guidance

Tell your Personal Tutor

It’s important that you make sure we are aware that you have limited access to IT or the internet.  The best way to do this is by contacting your Personal Tutor or Module Leader and a quick email is probably the easiest way to do that.  If you are unsure of who they are or how to contact them, you will have received an email recently, to your LJMU email address, informing you of contact details for your Programme Leader and Personal Tutor.  

Ask for an extension

If you are unable to submit work online or work is taking longer to complete because of limited IT access, contact your Module Leader or Personal Tutor for an extension.   We do not know how long the current social distancing measures will persist, but extra time might allow you to gain better access to IT once social distancing measures to have been relaxed.  You can also use the MyLJMU app and complete the Personal Circumstances form in the MyServices area.  You can do this from your phone as well as a computer.

Reduce distractions at home

To work successfully you should try to create a suitable study space at home. If possible, make a space which is away from distractions that might make you lose concentration. This goes for digital distractions as well. There are a range of apps and tools on your mobile phone that can temporarily disable some of the more distracting tools that you use. 

Although we cannot make direct recommendations for alternative apps, there are many tools that can help you concentrate, or at least reduce the temptation to view social media or check the news.  There are other apps out there too…so try some out to see if they work for you. 

If you share IT equipment with other members of the household, try to come to an agreement over who will use the equipment and when.  Use the time when you don’t have access to plan or otherwise prepare for assignments.

General IT Support

There is a quick guide to the most frequently used General IT facilities at LJMU here. You can also get general help with LJMU IT here.

Please take care of your online security. Additional information about renewing your password and keeping it secure is available here

In addition, for any assistance with using Canvas you can phone the Canvas 24/7 free helpline on 0808-189-4061 or chat with them online. For more information click on the Canvas ‘Help’ button.  It in the far left hand column of all Canvas sites. 

You can access all the online services the library has to offer from here.

Study support is available at Skills@LJMU.

If you are struggling, remember that we have excellent support for LJMU Student Health and Wellbeing.

What to do if you only have access to a mobile phone or tablet

Although this isn’t an ideal situation, there are still lots of things that you can do with a mobile device if you have access to the internet via 4G or WiFi. 

Update your operating system

Your phone may have been asking you to update the operating system for a while. Now is the time to follow this advice and install the highest version of the operating system your phone will allow you to install. This will make your phone more secure and will allow you to use all the functionalities connected with the recommended apps. 

Free up memory space

You probably have games, photos and movies stored on the device. This will impact on what you can download, store and do on your phone. LJMU offer 1TB of space to store your work on MicroSoft’s OneDrive. Download the OneDrive app and temporarily move some of your files into here. 

Download the Canvas student app

Make sure you have downloaded the Canvas student app on Android and iOS devices. This helps you to stay updated with your courses anywhere. 

Download the Panopto app

Download the Panopto app, this allows you to download recordings temporarily for 14 days should you have limited internet connection. Guides available for iOS and Android

Install Microsoft Office Suite

All students have access to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel for a mobile device. You also have 1TB storage on OneDrive.  With these tools installed you can continue to take notes and develop draft versions of your work.  The advantage of using this is that you can then access these materials from any other device.  So, when you do get access to other technology, you can continue to work on, refine and submit your work.

Handy tip: Consider using ‘speech to text’ in MS Word.  This will allow you to narrate into your phone and your words are converted to text.  You can use this to create the main body of your document and then edit the text.  You can also play this back on your phone to get a sense of how well it is written.  A guide is available here

Install OneNote

OneNote is probably the most powerful study tool you haven’t heard of. You can use it to structure your revision or essay using a range of tools that make it easy to keep track of your studies. OneNote study guide for students

Install Microsoft Office Lens app

This app allows you to take images of pages or diagrams and turn them into text. This can help you keep a record of your work on paper. Watch this video on how to use it. 

Don’t forget good old pen and paper

Taking notes whilst watching a video, reading an e-book or reviewing an academic paper is a normal part of studying.  You can then use the technology outlined above to record these so that you don’t lose them.

Don’t worry about submission!

It is feasible to submit work from a phone or other mobile device, but we are working on the assumption that current restrictions on movement will be relaxed at some point.  In that case, it would be better to get as much preparation done in advance of that, giving you time to refine your work for submission later.  Ask for an extension if a deadline occurs before that happens (see above). 

What to do if you have access to a computer/laptop, but limited internet

You may have a computer/laptop but limited access to the internet. Please read the guidance below.

Downloading materials to your computer

Downloading materials from Canvas

Follow this guide to help you download a local copy of your Canvas materials to help you study without the internet.

Downloading journal articles and some e-books

Access the recommended reading and download these on to your computer so you can access them when you need to.  Unfortunately, not all e-books are available for download, but some are.

Downloading recordings from Panopto

If you don’t already have permission to do this, ask your module leader so enable you to download recordings onto your computer for you to study without the internet.  A guide is available here.

Install Microsoft 365 office suite on your computer

You might not know this, but you have access to the full Microsoft Office suite (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OneNote) via the university. Once these are installed you then have some very powerful tools to help you organise your studies. You can find out how to do this here.


As described above, OneNote is probably the most powerful study tool you haven’t heard of. You can use it to structure your revision or essay using a range of tools that make it easy to keep track of your studies. 

OneNote study guide for students

Submitting your assignment

If you have limited access to the internet, make sure you give yourself as much time as possible to upload any assignments.  Of course, if things don’t work out then contact your Module Leader to explain your circumstances and request an extension.